An Australian government employee will reportedly face court today over his alleged misuse of government IT systems to mine cryptocurrency for personal gain. The news was announced by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on May 21.
The AFP alleges that the 33-year old man, whose name was not disclosed, used his access as an IT contractor to “manipulate programs to use the processing power of the agency’s computer network for crypto currency mining.” The alleged profits from his illicit mining activities reportedly amounted to AU$9,000 (~$6,200).
The man’s appearance before the Sydney Local Court follows an AFP search operation of his residency in Sydney on March 5, during which officers reportedly seized his personal laptop, personal phone, employee ID cards and data files. He faces two charges, specifically:
“Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, contrary to section 477.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) [and] Unauthorised modification of restricted data, contrary to section 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).”
In a statement, Acting Commander Chris Goldsmid, Manager of Cybercrime Operations, underscored the gravity of the alleged offence by an individual in public office. He noted:
“Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity. Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecuted.”
The charges carry a maximum sentence of ten and two years imprisonment respectively, the AFP announcement states.
As Cointelegraph reported, police have in the past taken action against suspects accused of stealing electricity from public providers to mine cryptocurrencies for their personal profit — in Germany, Taiwan and China within the past year alone.
In May 2018, Cointelegraph reported that employees of the local headquarters of the National Police in Rivne, Ukraine, were allegedly illicitly mining crypto at work for four months.