Two unnamed Russian citizens are being charged for purportedly using computers at state institutions to unlawfully mine cryptocurrency.
The two persons allegedly infected the hardware with a program that mines crypto through a web browser, local news agency Tass reported on December 16.
One of the accused, a Kurgan city resident, is said to have created a large-scale botnet to infect computers across several regions of the country. The other one reportedly focused his mining operations on hardware at the government water facility JSC Rostovvodokanal.
According to the report, the illicit utilization of a computer’s processing power to mine crypto without the owner’s knowledge or permission is often referred to as cryptojacking.
Although Tass does not reveal details of the crypto mined by the two individuals, malware like coin miner –based on Coinhive code – is a prime example of a common program designed to illegally mine Monero via a browser.
In a statement issued at a press conference on December 16, Nikolay Murashov – Deputy Director of Russia’s National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents – stated that “up to 80% of the computer’s free power can be used to generate virtual coins, and a legitimate user may not even know about it.”
Murashob emphasized that this illegal use of processing power can harmfully impact business operations and devastate firms’ performance, warning institutions to implement enhanced cybersecurity measures.
Probably the most ill-famed case of illicit mining at government-owned institution in Russia was tracked back in February 2018, when Russian security agents scored a coup against a syndicate of nuclear engineers at a top-secret nuclear warhead utility who had tried to use one of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoin.
Latest developments in the country have included a purported plan to pass a law that would allow authorities to seize cryptocurrency holdings as part of legal proceedings.
It has also been reported that the Russian central bank, financial regulator and the Ministry of Finance are supportive of a ban on the use of crypto as a form of payment for goods and services.