Two senior IT employees of the Crimean Council of Ministers have been fired for using government computers in order to mine Bitcoins.
The council’s head of the IT department and the department’s head of hardware and technical support have been dismissed for installing malicious software on the government’s server and over a dozen computers. The purpose of the software was to mine new Bitcoins.
The Anti-Corruption Committee of the Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) discovered the malicious code before the pair had mined a single Bitcoin.
The chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Republic of Crimea, Alexander Akshatin, commented that “they put malicious software on the server of the Crimean government, which opened access to the information stored on it. Concurrently, more than a dozen computers in the basement of the building were also used which gave this same access.”
He added: “They thought that there was nothing wrong with that. But if we were not on the alert, and some limited information went through this channel, you understand the extent to which this could all turn out. Fortunately, this did not happen.”
Crimea has expressed an interest in digital currencies. A few months ago, Alexey Moiseev, the Russian Deputy Finance Minister, announced plans to use digital currencies in Crimea to boost tourism. And Dmitry Marinichev, Vladimir Putin’s Internet Ombudsman, is pushing for the legalization of crypto-currencies in Crimea.