A former Australian government contractor who mined crypto using state-owned supercomputers has avoided jail time.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Jonathan Khoo was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service for installing code on two supercomputers run by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO, to mine crypto -change.
Khoo was able to mine AU$9,420 worth of cryptocurrency and deposit it into his Ethereum and Monero wallets in 2018.
CSIRO, which conducts science and technology research for the Australian government, said Khoo’s actions diverted needed computing power and cost the agency A$76,668. Australia’s federal cybercrime authorities said that by using supercomputers for personal gain, Khoo had drawn valuable resources from climate change studies, pulsar data network analysis and medical research.
Khoo’s mining activity was discovered in February 2018 and he was fired from his job. Charges of unauthorized modification of data to cause damage were brought a year later. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.
This is not the first time authorities have had to deal with employees using supercomputers at work to mine crypto. In 2019, a scientist and former employee of the Russian nuclear facility used the agency’s supercomputers to mine Bitcoin. He was sentenced to three years and three months in prison and fined 200,000 rubles ($3,130 at the time). Two other employees were fined.