A Chinese school headmaster Lei Hua was caught mining cryptocurrency using the school’s electricity. As a result, he had to lose his job.
It happened at Puman Middle School in Hunan province of China. Initially, teachers complained about the loud noise that continued day and night while an increase in the school’s electricity consumption was also reported to the headmaster. But rather than taking action, Hua rubbished the issue and blamed it on the excessive use of air conditioners and heaters.
However, later on, it was revealed that Hua bought eight cryptocurrency mining machines and installed them in his school’s computer room. According to local Chinese media, Hua spent over ten thousand Yuan per machine between 2017 and 2018.
It is noteworthy that cryptocurrency like Monero can be mined using limited power but in case of Bitcoin and Ethereum a user is required to use specially developed mining machines. The more powerful a mining machine is the more Ethereum it will generate and simultaneously it will use more electricity.
One recent study shows that Bitcoin mining uses as much energy as mining for gold or as much energy as Austria.
In this case, the headmaster was mining Ethereum. Although it is unclear how many Ethereum were mined, the whole process cost the school electricity bill of 14,700 yuan ($2,112 – €1,864 – £1,600). It is also suspected that the school’s deputy headmaster was also involved in the mining feat.
According to Barry Shteiman, VP of research and innovation at Exabeam: “At a time when cryptocurrency fever is taking off globally, it’s easy to forget the hundreds of thousands of crypto-specialized computers and servers ‘mining’ these currencies into circulation. Just like in this school, crypto-mining operations could be running within your organization’s network – draining vast amounts of energy – without your knowledge.”
“IT teams need to be vigilant. The best thing to do is look for anomalies in your electricity bill. You should also measure changes in your HVAC usage for heat dissipation, although this will be more difficult. Beyond that, look for sudden changes in capacity or usage, as well as significant deviations in pattern and velocity,” said Shteiman.
“The best approach to detecting irregular network behavior is using an emerging technology called entity analytics. This automates detection by baselining normal machine behavior and highlighting the anomalies. Deviation from these benchmarks may be an indicator of capacity abuse, and will the best marker of malicious cryptomining activity on your network, ” Shteiman advice.
This, however, is not the first time that someone has been caught mining cryptocurrency on someone else’s expense. In February this year, Russian scientists were caught using nuclear facility supercomputer to mine Bitcoin.