Employees Are Taking Over Employers’ Computers To Mine Cryptos

Francisco Memoria
  • The CEO of a renowned cybersecurity firm recently stated employees are increasingly taking over employers' computers to mine cryptocurrencies
  • According to her this is "becoming a big problem." It seemingly adds to the ongoing cryptojacking trend.

The chief executive of a renowned cybersecurity frim recently claimed that employees are increasingly taking over their employers’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to a report published by Business Insider.

Nicole Eagan, CEO of Darktrace, a cybersecurity company that works with the likes of the City of Las Vegas, European power plant giant Drax, and the Scottish government, told attendees at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council event that employees taking over computing power is becoming a problem.

She said:

"We have seen 1,000 crypto-mining cases in the last six months in the US alone with employees taking over company infrastructure for crypto mining. This is becoming a big problem."

Nicole Eagan

As an example, Eagan revealed Darktrace had come across an instance where a junior banker at an Italian bank stole servers he had signed for on the company’s behalf. According to her, the junior banker took 12 servers and hid them under the floorboards of the bank’s data center to set up his own cryptocurrency mining operations.

The move went undetected for “some period of time,” until the unusual connections going outside the bank to his cryptocurrency mining operations gave it all away.

Robert Hannigan, former director of the British government’s cybersecurity agency GCHQ, appeared alongside Eagan at the conference, and added that he believes “people are doing what they’ve always done in the criminal world, which is to harness unsecured processing power from around the world.”

Hanningan added that botnets – networks of other people’s remotely controlled devices – are constantly used to mine cryptocurrencies. Using other people’s devices to mine cryptos is known as cryptojacking.

The cryptojacking trend has been on the rise, so much so that the UK’s national cybersecurity center has listed it as a “significant” threat. Notably, reports have shown that even the Egyptian government secretly mined cryptocurrencies with citizens computers at one point.

The trend has been so damaging that most anti-malware tools block cryptocurrency mining scripts. Google, as covered, recently removed all crypto mining extensions from Chrome’s store.

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Analytics Firm Tradeblock Predicts Bitcoin Mining Costs Over $12,500 Following Halving

Michael LaVere
  • Analytics firm Tradeblock estimates the cost of mining a single bitcoin to be over $12,500 following May's halving.
  • Increasing hash rate and reduced block reward will force miners to sell at higher break-even costs. 

Blockchain analytics firm Tradeblock estimates that the cost to mine bitcoin will rise to over $12,500 following May’s halving event. 

According to the report , May’s halving event, which will reduce the supply of newly minted bitcoin by 50%, will significantly increase the breakeven cost for miners. Tradeblock researchers estimate that commercial mining operators were able to achieve a healthy profit margin throughout most of 2019, with the rising competition in hash rate corresponding to an increase in bitcoin’s price. 

The report reads, 

Network hash rate has continued on a record run, making new highs nearly each week [...] As resources dedicated to mining rise over time, efficiency gains and/or mining costs rise. As such, in order to maintain healthy profit margins for miners, a rising hash rate is typically needed to correspond with a rising bitcoin price.

Tradeblock reports the current breakeven cost for bitcoin miners to be around $6800 using Bitmain’s Antminer series. However, the analytics firm claims that cost will increase to over $12,500 following May’s halving from a combination of rising hash rate and reduced mining reward.  

Tradeblock says miners are anticipating bitcoin’s price to increase in order to cover their operating costs, 

Our estimated breakeven costs indicate that miners are continuing to increase resources towards the network despite what is set to become a cost (per mined btc) increase following the halving. This suggests that miners are likely expecting the price of bitcoin to rise to higher levels (above ~$12,000-15,000 per BTC) around the halving allowing them to continue to generate a profit.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com