As the interest around cryptocurrency continues to grow, recent reports in Australia and the US reveal that employees are beginning to carry their cryptomining practices into the workplace – potentially costing businesses thousands as a result.
Whilst it’s an unfortunate common occurrence for current or ex-employees to steal office supplies or electronics from their workplaces, an alarming new trend could be taking shape surrounding the rise of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple. Recent stories reported from Louisiana in the US and within Australia suggest that employees have been using CPU power from workplace computers and laptops for cryptomining purposes, draining both computer speeds and disrupting internal networks.
What is Cryptomining?
In order to generate singular or small amounts of cryptocurrency, a process called cryptomining is used. Cryptomining relies on the use of a computer’s processing power in order to solve a series of complex mathematic and algorithm based equations. Each solution created by a computer or series of computers (known as a ‘mining rig’) is then awarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency produced can then be used to purchase products and services which support it as a payment method. In order to generate larger amounts of the currency, those who use cryptomining increase computer processing speeds in order to solve the equations a lot quicker and on a larger scale. This is usually done by connecting a series of other machines to a ‘mining rig’ which could include a building’s power supply and other electrical components.
The reports of cryptomining efforts occurring in workplaces and public spaces will likely cause concern to businesses. Not only can cryptomining slow down computer and electronic device speeds, but homemade mining devices brought into the office could pose a huge security risk and leave businesses open to a range of viruses and cyber attacks. To deal with the potential cryptomining issue, it’s now more important than ever for companies to update their security infrastructure, data practices and update their codes of conduct to address cryptocurrencies and mining. Doing otherwise could lead to huge financial losses and with the introduction of GDPR next month, huge HR headaches.