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An Italian technician improvises an Ethereum mining farm at an airport


Establishing mining farms is not an easy task, especially because of the costs involved. Obviously this can vary depending on where you live. However, there are those who have less conventional ideas, such as an Italian technician who established an Ethereum mining farm with computers from an airport.

This 41-year-old man was arrested for allegedly using network systems and electricity to mine Ethereum. The technician allegedly installed five powerful airport computer processors at an Ethereum mining farm.

How is he supposed to use airport computers to mine Ethereum?

According to Rai News, the anonymous technician was in charge of the airport’s computerized infrastructure, giving it access to network assets. The extraction scheme was only detected when technicians noticed “anomalies” and alerted the local police.

The man took advantage of their unrestricted access to control areas and installed Ethereum mining software on the airport’s systems, compromising their security in the process.

Italy’s Lamezia Terme International Airport was the site of all this. This is a medium-sized airport, located in the south-western region of Calabria in Italy, and serves the busy tourist area.

Exactly how did they detect Ethereum mining?

The initial clue is always an unusually high power consumption. This is what personnel from the Italian company Sacal, which manages the seven airports and airfields in Calabria, noticed primarily. They also commented that there was also unusual activity on the network.

Such malware also shortens the operational lifespan of infected computer hardware and, in some cases, is known to cause operating system failures. The reason this escalated to law enforcement is that if there are failures in the system, there is the potential for a possible service disruption that would affect communication systems at the crucial regional airport.

For this reason, they decided to report the matter to the Postal Police of Reggio Calabria and Catanzaro, which resumed the investigation. Police investigators working with the airport authorities conducted an IT audit of the airport facilities.

What they uncovered was reportedly a makeshift mining farm spread over two technical rooms. The farm consisted of 5 GPUs mounted in a configuration optimized for mining Ethereum.

Additional details

The researchers were able to use the IP addresses linked to the mining processors to determine the location of the Ethermine pool the miner was working with. After a period of observation that included the use of secret cameras, the employee allegedly responsible for the violation was identified and brought in for questioning.

The facility was connected to the Internet through systems that would be reserved exclusively for the airport management services and was connected to the airport’s power supply 24 hours a day. Thus, the miner was allegedly mining Ethereum around the clock without risk to him and at the expense of the airport.

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