Galveston ISD employee out of work after cryptocurrency mining machines discovered around schools

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) — A former Galveston ISD employee is under investigation as school leaders have found multiple cryptocurrency mining machines on campuses.

THE INVESTIGATION BEGUN WITH A DISCOVERY INSIDE AN ISOLATED AREA INSIDE BALL HIGH SCHOOL

The devices found inside Ball High School shocked neighbors who wondered why anyone would install a wand, cables and a router.

“I feel like it’s very untrustworthy, and you’ve been working here for years,” said former student, Syriaha Smith. “I just want to know what made you want to do this.”

Superintendent Jerry Gibson won’t say who the person is, except that she no longer works for the district. A few weeks ago, the district firewall discovered multiple pings, which led to the discovery of cryptocurrency mining machines on six campuses.

“That’s my philosophy,” Gibson said. “You build things on trust. You invest in people’s lives. When you do that and the ROI isn’t what you want, it stinks.”

Gibson says no student or faculty information was compromised.

WHAT IS A CYRPTOMINE MINING MACHINE?

Texas Blockchain Council President Lee Bratcher said the mining machines are not meant to hack, but to help the bitcoin network. “The miners secure the network and the payment in that they are rewarded with the codebase, which is currently 6.25 bitcoins,” Bratcher explained.

The more machines you have, the more money you receive. Every ten minutes, Bratcher said $250,000 is given out in rewards.

To run machines, you need energy. “If you’re able to run one of these machines that has a facility with a lower horsepower contract, you can be more profitable,” Bratcher explained.

Galveston ISD executives said the former employee did not have permission to install machinery and use school electricity.

GALVESTON ISD MAKES CHANGES AFTER MINING DEVICES ARE IN ISOLATED AREAS

The devices were found in areas where few people had access. “If a manager needs to get in there, he’ll get there,” Gibson explained. “We’re going to check this to make sure every superintendent in this district has the keys to every lock on their campus.”

Despite the change, the district is not done with its investigation. Although the employee has left, he may receive further measures. Principals could report their findings to the district attorney’s office.

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