More and more university students are reportedly using campus electricity to mine crypto, collectively becoming the second-largest crypto mining group in the world according to security researchers at Cisco.
Security researchers at Cisco have been monitoring cryptocurrency mining and discovered that university campuses are the second most common location for mining activities, making up 22% of the total.
The largest miner of crypto – the energy and utilities sector – makes up roughly 34% of the total amount of crypto mining.
Cisco is a US-based multinational technology conglomerate. Cisco threat researcher Austin McBride suggests that the data is likely a product of opportunistic students who are creating mining rigs in their university halls.
McBride comments: “You leave [the mining rig] running in your dorm for four years, you walk out of college with a big chunk of change.”
Universities often provide free electricity on campus, which students are seemingly now looking to exploit in their mining endeavours.
McBride states: “You can run your mining rig in your dorm or school library and not worry about those costs eating into your mining profitability.”
Cisco picked up on this rising trend through its Umbrella security product. Umbrella monitors clients’ network connections to test for any possible malicious activity, including crypto mining.
McBride noted how crypto mining on campuses is distributed, suggesting that multiple students are mining across multiple dorm rooms.
However, not all of the mining is conducted knowingly by students – hackers have also been infecting computer devices with malware to mine.
McBride also speculates that the rise in campus mining is likely due to the increase in mining difficulty for a lot of cryptocurrencies.
“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,” McBride adds.
Interested in reading more about crypto mining at universities? Discover how one student was kicked out of his university for running illicit mining programs on the university’s computers.