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According to a statement issued by the Florida Law Enforcement Department (FDLE), an employee of the Citrus Department was found to use state-owned computer hardware to exploit cryptocurrencies. The author, Matthew McDemott, has held the position of director of information technology for the department, which neglects the operation of the citrus industry in Florida.
The FDLE arrested McDermott shortly after the discovery and had him transported to Polk County Prison. The cryptocurrency extraction operation was discovered after an assessment of the utility’s utility bill amounts. According to the Inspector General of the Ministry, between October 2017 and January 2018, the cost of electricity increased by $ 825
Mining refers to the act of auditing transactions within the network of a cryptocurrency. The FDLE also attempted to explain McDermott’s motives by stating:
“A mining basin, or team, is used to solve mathematical equations in order to extract virtual currency and earn a reward.The pool combines its resources to help offset costs . “
Computer resources owned by the government have been the target of clandestine cryptocurrency mining operations for a very long time. Since computers at some state-owned facilities are very powerful because of the workload that they must handle, individuals are often tempted to use them for personal purposes. Just days ago, for example, the Attorney General of Louisiana fired several IT employees after being found guilty of using government computers to exploit bitcoins.
In February 2018, a BBC report also revealed that hackers had managed to inject a cryptocurrency extraction script on the website of the Office of the Information Commissioner. The hacked website would use the processing power of a visitor ‘s computer to extract cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the user.
The United States is not alone in fighting the unauthorized use of its computers for cryptocurrency mining. According to another BBC report, several Russian nuclear scientists have been arrested following the discovery of their plot to exploit bitcoin at an ultra-secret nuclear warhead in Sarov, Russia.
In most cases, the penalty for the use of government resources for personal purposes is not very serious. However, in this case, Matthew McDermott also used a state purchase card to obtain additional mining equipment worth $ 22,000. The money would have been used between July and December 2017 to buy 24 units of graphics processing according to the Florida law enforcement agency. Due to the extensive nature of his crime, McDermott was charged with theft in addition to the official misconduct and was released on bail at $ 5,000
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