Report Details Surge in Crypto Mining on College Campuses

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A recent report published by Vectra, a cybersecurity company has unearthed what it terms as an alarming increase in cryptocurrency mining on many college campuses.

Colleges Become Hotbed for Mining Activities

The report by Vectra says that many malicious hackers, opportunistic students and even cryptocurrency mining scripts hosted which are hosted websites, are sapping power from several universities to mine virtual currencies.

The report concludes that universities and higher education were by far at the highest risk of attack from August 2017 through January 2018. According to Vectra’s research, 85 percent of the attack behaviors which were identified in several industries came from institutions of higher education. The research ranks “Entertainment & Leisure” at second place with 6 percent; Technology and Financial Services come third with 3 percent.

According to the research, there was an increase in the number of computers processing cryptocurrency on college campuses before the value of bitcoin went above $4,000 USD in 2017. The sudden drop in prices of bitcoin in January did not deter many opportunistic students who are seeking to take advantage of the free campus electricity. The report adds that even after shedding off 50 percent in value bitcoin mining in campuses did not decline.

Opportunistic College Students Take Advantage of Free Electricity

One of the students, Joey Dilliha, who is 18 years old and a student at Western Kentucky University, says that every day he leaves a Bitmain Antminer running in his room. He says gets $30 in profits each week.

Dilliha admitted that the college is prohibitive of mining activities because they are perceived as a fire hazard. Early this year, Stanford University gave a notice in response to what it termed as an increase in cases of cryptocurrency mining at the university. The notice reminded students that according to the university’s policy, Stanford resources should not be used for financial gain of the students. The notice went ahead and said the university prohibits the use of its resources including electricity, network services and computing equipment for cryptocurrency mining activities away from the university’s sanctioned course work and research.

While commenting on the research, Chris Morales, the head of security analytics at Vectra said many students are likely to engage in crypto mining personally because they don’t pay for power.

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