Australian Dodges Prison After Using A Supercomputer At Work To Mine Crypto

A former employee of CSIRO – the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, has avoided prison after being caught using a supercomputer at work for mining cryptocurrencies. Jonathan Khoo, 34, worked as a contractor at the federal government’s scientific research agency.

Generating $6,897 Worth Of Ethereum and Monero

As per a recent news report, between January and February 2018, Khoo has managed to use two supercomputers at his workplace for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. According to the publication, he used the devices for his financial gain. He also managed to mine crypto worth A$9,420 (US$6,897), and deposit them into his Ethereum and Monero wallets. 

This was discovered in February 2018, after which Khoo was dismissed from CSIRO. The following month The Australian Federal Police looked into the matter and Khoo faced an official charge the next year. 

Reportedly, Khoo’s cryptomining daredevil stunt had cost his company an estimated A$76,668 (US$56,133) worth of computer power and other resources.

“This man’s activities diverted these supercomputer resources away from performing significant scientific research for the nation, including pulsar data array analysis, medical research and climate modelling work,” said Federal Police cybercrime operations commander Chris Goldsmid after the sentence.

The defendant’s lawyer emphasized before the local court that Khoo had zero previous offenses, he had admitted his crime before the police, and felt remorseful for his actions. 

Dodging Prison By A Thread

As per the report, magistrate Erin Kennedy sentenced Khoo to a 15-month intensive corrections order to deliver 300 hours of community service and to continue counseling. This way, he won’t be spending actual prison time but will be serving out his custodial sentence in the community. 

The maximum penalty for offenses of the kind, as per the Australian law, is 10 years in prison.

According to Goldsmid, “malicious cyber activity, including by people on the inside of organizations, was increasing in scale and severity. Authorities urge companies and all government agencies to keep up a strong culture of cybersecurity in order to strengthen their ability to detect possible breaches.”

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