Ex-Employee at Australian Science Agency Avoids Prison After Mining Crypto on Supercomputers

A former contractor for Australian science agency CSIRO was found to have mined around $7,000 in cryptocurrency.

AccessTimeIconSep 18, 2020 at 8:28 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:57 a.m. UTC

A former employee of an Australian federal agency has avoided prison after he was caught using government supercomputers to mine for cryptocurrency.

  • According to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday, Jonathan Khoo, 34, worked as a contractor for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
  • Between January and February 2018, Khoo implemented code in two supercomputers for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency for his own personal financial gain.
  • Khoo was able to mine ether and monero worth a reported A$9,420 (US$6,897), which he deposited into his own personal wallets.
  • The CSIRO estimated Khoo's illegal mining pursuits cost the agency A$76,668 (US$56,133) worth of computing power and other resources.
  • Magistrate Erin Kennedy handed Khoo a 15-month intensive correction order on Friday; he will serve out his sentence via 300 hours of community service plus counseling.
  • After being discovered in February 2018, Australian federal police issued a search warrant and arrested Khoo later that month, the report said.
  • His actions "diverted" valuable computing power resources away from "significant scientific research," federal police cybercrime operations commander Chris Goldsmid said, including "data array analysis, medical research and climate modeling work."
  • The disgraced employee's lawyer told the local court that Khoo had no prior offenses and was remorseful for his actions.
  • Magistrate Kennedy on handing down the sentence acknowledged Khoo's guilty plea, but noted it was significant the CSIRO had been targeted and said Khoo's sentence had to act as a general deterrent.
  • In Australia, the maximum penalty for the crime – unauthorized modification of data to cause impairment – carries a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Belgium Regulator Ponders Crypto as a Security

The EU’s landmark crypto law won’t take effect for a couple of years, but existing stock-trading rules may still apply, financial regulator FSMA says.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
UK City Minister, Crypto Proponent John Glen Resigns as Ministers Quit Johnson Government

In April, Glen had outlined the U.K.'s ambitions to become a crypto hub and produce a regulatory package for crypto assets.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
American CryptoFed DAO Withdraws Locke, Ducat Token Registration Request

CryptoFed said it is pulling the registration because the tokens are “not securities.”

CoinDesk - Unknown