Italian airport employee arrested for building mining farm at work

Italian airport employee arrested for building mining farm at work

By Alice Leetham - min read

The IT technician installed malware on the airport’s servers in order to mine Ethereum

An employee at Lamezia Terme International Airport in Calabria was discovered to be illegally mining Ethereum using the airport’s computers, according to a report by Rai News.

The 41 year old man, who is as yet unnamed, was a technician in charge of the airport’s computer infrastructure, and installed malware so that he could use the servers for mining activities. He exploited the facilities of Sacal, the company in charge of managing Calabrian airports, in order to procure Ethereum without having to bear the costs of powering the equipment for 24 hours a day.

Other Sacal technicians were alerted to the miner’s activities by anomalies in the network and tipped off the border police. According to the Postal Police of Reggio Calabria and Catanzaro, the rogue technician’s actions endangered the security of the airport’s IT infrastructure.

The Lamezia Terme Public Prosecutor’s Office coordinated an investigation that involved analysing IP addresses to identify the site of the Ethereum mining pool. Upon examining the airport’s IT hub, investigators collaborating with airport authorities discovered the presence of a mining farm spanning two different technical rooms. The farm comprised five powerful electronic processors, or mining rigs, connected to the internet via the airport’s IT systems and powered by the airport’s electricity supply.

Investigators monitored the site of the Ethermine pool and identified the culprit through the use of CCTV cameras installed in the technical rooms. However, authorities are continuing to search for possible accomplices.

This isn’t the first cryptocurrency mining crime of it’s kind, however. In June of this year, local Russian authorities reported that a Dagestan resident had built a mining farm in a construction base. He generated Litecoin and Bitcoin by illegally connecting to the power line, causing over 34 million rubles’ ($423,000) worth of damage to the electricity grid.

Also, less than two months ago,  The Sydney Morning Herald reported that an Australian federal government employee had been sentenced for using the supercomputers at his workplace to mine Ethereum and Monero, costing his employers over 76,000 AUD ($53,000) in computer power and other resources.

However, given the profitability of crypto mining it is perhaps not surprising that illegal mining activities have been on the rise lately.