in HIPAA Headlines by John Brewer

Bitcoin, which is a crypto-currency, has ballooned in value over the last several months.

One of the basics parts of crypto-currency is the “mining” aspect.

Mining is part of the back bone of crypto-currency.

The block chain requires many different computers to keep track of transactions. Keeping up with these transactions requires quite a bit of computing power, both because of the cryptography in place and the de-centralized design of crypto-currency.

As a reward for doing this heavy-duty computing, after one does a certain amount of mining, the reward is a shiny new bitcoin (Ok, it isn’t shiny since it doesn’t really exist…physically).

In the short history of crypto-currency, each time there has been a price spike, there has been a renewed interest in mining.

What does this have to do with your practice?

That’s probably the same question the Federal Nuclear Centre of Russia was thinking. Well, a few Russian scientists have been arrested for using one of Russia’s most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins. One of the other issues was, in order to mine Bitcoin, they had to connect this supercomputer to the internet…this is a no no.

Closer to home, a small business had to let an intern go after it was discovered this intern had loaded Bitcoin mining software on a company laptop.

There shouldn’t be a need to list the reasons why this is a problem…but I will anyway:

  • Huge resource hog on the computer
  • Huge resource hog on the network
  • The software quite often will contain malware

As you can see, it seems the need for new policies never ends. Do you have an office policy against mining crypto-currency?

About John Brewer

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