Two employees of the Crimean Council of Ministers were caught mining bitcoin using government properties, news.Bitcoin.com reported.
The two were immediately terminated, according to the report that Bitcoin.com said originated with the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“They put malicious software on the server of the Crimean government, which opened access to the information stored on it. Concurrently, more than a dozen computers in the basement of the building were also used which gave this same access.”
Those were the words of the Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Republic of Crimea, Alexander Akshatin, at a press conference last week in Sevastopol. He added that the two were fired them before they had time to cash out.
As for how much they were able to mine, he said, “I cannot exactly say, but less than one bitcoin.” He then noted that “in February-March 2017, a bitcoin was $1800, now it costs $4000. Even half a bitcoin is some money.”
“They thought that there was nothing wrong with that,” Akshatin added. “But if we were not on the alert and some limited information went through this channel, you understand the extent to which this could all turn out. Fortunately, this did not happen.”
He believes that their dismissals will deter anyone from doing the same in the future, Bitcoin.com reported. Probably true.
This case reminds the Bitcoin Coaches of the words of the Dalai Lama XIV: “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” We say that in jest, obviously, but the two former government employees apparently did not realize that putting external software on government-owned computers could violate workplace rules.
Bitcoin is often incorrectly cited as the leading currency of crime, due to its privacy qualities. In this case, the involvement of Bitcoin was coincidental. The two men might have similarly decided to load a shared video game on their work machines, which would likely also have broken rules, exposed government information to leaks, and resulted in the two men being terminated.