Contractor charged over alleged covert crypto-mining on government systems

An IT contractor for a federal government agency faces multiple criminal charges after he allegedly reaped more than $9000 in profits from a covert crypto-mining operation.

The Australian Federal Police raided the 33-year-old man’s home in the Sydney suburb of Killara earlier this month. The AFP said that during a search a personal laptop and phone, employee ID cards, and data files were seized.

The AFP allege that the man employed the processing power of a government agency’s computer network for crypto mining.

The man has been charged with unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ prison, and unauthorised modification of restricted data, which can be punished with up to two years’ prison.

“Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity,” said acting commander Chris Goldsmid, the AFP’s manager for cyber crime operations.

“Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecuted.”

In 2018 the AFP investigated allegations that Bureau of Meteorology computing resources were secretly being employed to mine cryptocurrencies. In 2011 an ABC employee was investigated for using the broadcaster’s network to mine Bitcoin.

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