Theft of office supplies and printing large amounts of personal documents on office printers and photocopiers were common practices among truant employees. Due to digital technology, staff misconduct has evolved from mundane issues to more concerning violations.
The mining of cryptocurrency using employer resources is one of those high-profile misconducts taking hold across the globe, one that is becoming a headache to managers and business owners.
To earn cryptocurrency like Bitcoins, miners solve increasingly complex puzzles. The faster and more efficiently they solve these puzzles, the more Bitcoins they get, but the more difficult it becomes to mine.
During the mining process, massive internet bandwidth and computing power are needed, and much electrical energy is consumed. These resources come at a steep cost, hence the reason some people are lured into cutting corners. It is not uncommon for some workers to covertly mine Bitcoin inside their employer's facilities to save on costs, especially electricity. It is estimated that Bitcoin production in
200 terawatt hours
Kenya consumes over 200 terawatt hours of electricity annually, which is significant for a country that struggles to provide reliable and sufficient power. Due to concerns over energy use and underlying financial risks, the Chinese government has banned crypto mining in China. As a result, miners who had invested in the mining business suffered a severe financial blow. Many of these miners had to leave China for countries such as Iran and Kazakhstan, where fossil fuels are used to generate electricity and have lenient rules on power use.
As opposed to traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are unregulated by governments. They are valued based on the forces of supply and demand.
Bitcoin has gained much popularity in the past few years, tempting many to want to jump on board to make money from it. However, some have found ways to reduce hefty electricity expenses, especially in offices where staff supervision is weak or nonexistent.
Moreover, crypto mining devices produce a lot of heat, which requires more electricity to power air conditioners to cool buildings and office equipment.
If your office's electricity bills have gone up in mysterious ways, and the internet has been painful, you should check if anyone is mining cryptocurrencies on their computers.
In some companies, Bitcoin mining occurs in the server room, where the company's most valuable data and communications assets are housed. Because mining not only consumes electric power but also threatens the servers, this is a particularly dangerous undertaking. The crypto mining software may introduce some back doors through which hackers can exploit.
It is critically important for companies to establish or update policies that regulate the use of company computers and other electronics for personal or illegal purposes before the problem worsens. To detect and stop mining software in the system, they should also install, upgrade, or patch their anti-malware software.
Mr Wambugu is an informatician. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Samwambugu2