Economy

Police raid weather bureau over cryptocurrency 'mining'

Police raid weather bureau over cryptocurrency 'mining'

Australian Federal Police are investigating two government workers for allegedly using government computers to mine cryptocurrency.

A spokesperson for the bureau declined to answer questions, citing the ongoing investigation, as did the AFP.

The rest of the bureau's IT team was ushered into a conference room and told to wait while the employees were questioned, the people said.

The cops raided the weather bureau on February 28th, according to the ABC, and questioned two IT workers, one of whom has since gone on leave.

The Bureau of Meteorology operates powerful IT infrastructure to allow it to crunch vast amounts of data for its complex climate modelling.

More news: Man charged in theft of Frances McDormand's Oscar

With the most well-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, the current reward for solving an equation and adding a block to the blockchain is 12.5 bitcoins.

But over time the calculations become more complex, requiring more powerful computers.

"Mining" cryptocurrency, fyi, means making your computer solve a bunch of increasingly hard equations to be rewarded with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or one of the other hundreds of cryptocurrencies.

Last month, Russian authorities arrested engineers at the country's top-secret nuclear warhead facilities for allegedly mining Bitcoin on its computers. Another possibility, though, is that they're just trying to get the Bureau of Meteorology to pay for the electricity.

Mining Bitcoin and other digital currencies is very expensive in Australia because of the high energy prices in the county.


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