The studies were conducted using Cisco’s security product Umbrella which monitors network connections in order to block malicious activities. The product which also flags and cancels suspected cryptocurrency mining (or cryptojacking) processes up to 180 million Domain Name Server requests daily.
The report claimed that the residents of university campuses were mining so much cryptocurrency using their campus electricity that they are the second biggest miners of virtual currencies behind the energy and utilities sector,
“Security researchers at Cisco have been monitoring cryptocurrency mining across different industry verticals, and college campuses are the second biggest miners of virtual currencies, at about 22 percent.”
Their analysis of crypto mining traffic Cisco researcher found that 34 percent came from energy and utilities followed by College Education which accounted for 22 percent.
How College Students Are Mining Crypto
One of the Cisco researchers Austin McBride suggested that the students were mining crytpos out of their dorm rooms in order to take advantage of the free electricity.
“…So you can run your mining rig in your dorm or school library and not worry about those costs eating into your mining profitability.”
“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.”
He noted that the mining difficulties for many cryptocurrencies are high making it quite difficult to mine profitably. But for opportunistic college students, they do not have to worry about some costs.
“You leave the mining rig running in your dorm room for four years, you walk out of college with a big chunk of change”, he said.
Colleges are worried about Crypto Mining
McBride, when speaking with PC Mag said that campus cryptocurrency mining is “quite distributed”, which suggests that many students are mining across dorm rooms. Last year, Stanford University warned the campus community against cryptocurrency mining which was against the school’s regulation since it involved using school resources for personal financial gain.
The crypto mining activities may not be entirely done willfully by students as hackers could secretly mine cryptocurrency using their systems, an action known a cryptojacking. According to crypto news site Cointelegraph, cybersecurity firm Vectra found last year that college student was by far the most targeted group for cryptojacking.