The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is investigating allegations that a tech staffer was using its servers to generate virtual currency.
According to online publication Crikey, an IT staffer had installed a 'BitCoin' software agent that used the ABC's spare processing power to solve cryptographic problems.
BitCoin is a digital, peer-to-peer currency that can be traded for national currencies – including those of the US, Poland, Britain and the European Union – via various online exchanges.
Users generate small amounts of currency by 'mining' for BitCoins using software agents. At the time of publishing, BitCoins were trading at between US$12.50 and US$15.00 ($11.90 to $14.30).
An ABC spokeswoman said it would investigate the alleged software installation, declining to provide further detail.
An IT manager at the public broadcaster told iTnews' sister publication SC Magazine that he was unaware of the allegations, noting the ABC had "hundreds" of IT staff nationwide.
Although the installation could breach the ABC's acceptable use policies, IBRS security analyst James Turner said a theft of processing power was akin to a theft of paperclips.
Turner noted, however, that the installation could introduce security risks to the ABC's network. "Who would patch it?" he asked. "Does it open vulnerabilities? Is it malicious?"