Students Are Mining Crypto On Campus

Karan Balwani

March 7, 2019 12:28 pm

Students Are Mining Crypto On Campus
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Universities and college campuses are filled with young minds who are the future of our business and political landscape. They have lead to exceptional innovations over the years and it seems like the students are rapidly picking up another hobby, cryptocurrency mining. 

Cisco security researchers have been tracking cryptocurrency mining across various industries and verticals. Ther research uncovered the fact that college campuses are the second on the list after the energy and utility sector when it comes to cryptocurrency mining.

According to the conducted research it was discovered that the energy sector is responsible for 34 percent of the total cryptocurrency mining, followed by college campuses which account for 22 percent. Other notable sectors that mine cryptocurrencies include media, healthcare, local governments, financial services and the manufacturing sector.

Since students are provided free electricity on campus, they find it easy to mine cryptocurrencies without any significant overhead costs. Mining rigs are usually set up in college dorms and libraries.

Austin McBride, threat researcher, Cisco said

“You leave [the mining rig] running in your dorm room for four years, you walk out of college with a big chunk of change. Mining difficulty for a lot of coins is very high right now – which means it costs more for electricity and internet than the profit you can produce from mining those coins. If you don’t have to pay for those costs, then you are in a really good spot for making money on the university’s dime.”

Umbrella, Cisco’s IT security product is designed to detect any malicious activity on the client side of a network connection, this includes the mining of cryptocurrencies. McBride further stated that on-campus cryptocurrency mining is not limited to students. In fact, hackers routinely break into vulnerable networks and inject malware to mine their own cryptocurrencies as well.

He said that most energy and utility systems use outdated computers and software, which makes mining of crypto significantly easier as here the IT security is vulnerable. Notably, Stanford University issued a notice to all its students, warning them to not mine cryptocurrencies for personal gains. This notice specifically stated digital currencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

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