A number of powerful computing devices were found secreted within the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw, Poland. They weren’t installed to collect court data, or any similar espionage, reports Poland’s TVN24. Instead, investigators believe they were simply hidden within the fabric of the building to mine cryptocurrency while enjoying ‘free’ electricity.
According to the source report, the discovery of the high-power equipment happened around August, September 2023. A letter sent to TVN24 by one of the court judges confirmed the purpose of the unofficial computing equipment as cryptocurrency mining.
This parasitic computing equipment, hidden under the building floors and in air ventilators, is claimed to have chewed through electricity worth up to several thousand zlotys per month (for guidance 1,000 zloty is roughly US$250). However, the installers of these devices took care to set up a separate network using their own modems, which probably helped them avoid detection.
From reading the machine translation of the report, it isn’t easy to unravel the precise chain of events. It seems to be that the IT services company responsible for looking after computers and networks in the court building fired a pair of employees. These individuals were reportedly responsible for servicing the parts of the large building where cryptomining equipment was revealed to be in operation. Sometime after the IT company cleaned up its act the president of the court terminated the contract with said company.
Official investigations are still ongoing in the above case. Ultimately, if anyone can be found guilty, it will be of a law that covers the theft of electricity. To get a grasp on the scale of the crime that has been committed, prosecutors are talking to experts from the fields of IT and the electrical power industry. By collecting data and having the experts work together, the courts should be able to accurately determine the scale and value of the power theft by the secret cryptomining criminals.
Last month we reported that Bitcoin mining was becoming more popular again due to strengthening BTC valuations. The iconic cryptocurrency remains in good health, with one BTC valued at around $36,500 at the time of writing. However, readers still shouldn’t worry about the specter of cryptomining on PC GPUs, as even the best graphics cards are totally unsuitable for BTC mining.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
This is worse than having people living in your walls, at least they don't use electricity.Reply
The wet-dream of every crypto-head has to rely on stealing power (and this is not the first time) to keep the dream alive.Reply
you can bet someone is all over the IT staff. They had the knowledge of the network, the Building heating and ventilation. They knew the times best suited to install their equipment. they knew hos to code and how to collect the information to mine the bitcoins. This is a great way to have the Polish Military get free labor or go to prison.Reply
Yeah, something like this doesn't happen without insider higher ups involved and not just one person either.Reply