Incidents

Baidu employee earned $15k USD by mining cryptocurrencies on 200 company servers

Since its emergence, cryptocurrency mining has been considered as a highly lucrative activity, so many users worldwide have resorted to desperate measures in order to own some virtual currencies. A renowned IT security services firm reported that a systems engineer from Baidu, a Chinese company equivalent to Google, will be imprisoned after it was discovered that he used about 200 company servers to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.

The individual reportedly managed to mine
100,000 Yuan, equivalent to nearly $15k USD in Monero, according to the current
exchange rate.

An Bang was working on maintaining Baidu search
engine. A couple of years ago, he began to take an interest in cryptocurrency
mining, an activity that requires huge processing resources, so he decided to
install scripts for the extraction of Monero on the company’s servers.

According to the IT security services report,
Baidu security teams detected high server activity, so they notified the
authorities with a possible intrusion in mind. Finally, Chinese police
identified Bang, who had conducted multiple transactions. The individual was
charged with illegitimate access to a computer system, for which he was
sentenced to three years in prison, and received a fine of 11,000 Yuan ($1,500
USD).

Since last November, China removed
cryptocurrency mining from its list of undesirable activities, as the IT
security services firm mentioned. However, transactions with Bitcoin and any
other variant of virtual asset are considered illegal in the Asian giant, so
stronger measures against this activity will be implemented in the future. This
measure relates to the Chinese government’s intentions to launch its own central
bank-controlled cryptocurrency, although it is worth mentioning that the
coronavirus outbreak has interrupted any related plans.

The International Institute of Cyber Security
(IICS)
mentions that illegal cryptocurrency mining, known as cryptojacking,
remains a highly practiced activity, mainly due to the low complexity of
completing an attack and minimum resources required.

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