Cryptocurrency Mining Risks and U-M Restrictions

Cryptocurrency mining using U-M resources is a violation of university policy. This includes use of U-M or personally owned systems using university electrical or networking resources, as well as use of U-M computer equipment. Only faculty-approved research or coursework is exempt from this prohibition.

Cryptocurrency mining may also expose you and your personal devices and accounts to risk.

What Is Cryptocurrency Mining?

  • Cryptocurrency mining is the distributed process of validating digital currency transactions and adding them to a public ledger/record for the currency (the blockchain) in pursuit of transaction fees and additional digital currency.
  • The mining process is computationally intensive and can use significant and costly amounts of computing time and electricity.

Using U-M Resources for Cryptocurrency Mining Violates University Policy

Cryptocurrency mining is a violation of university policy:

Members of the U-M community are prohibited from using university resources (including computing equipment, network services, and electricity) for cryptocurrency mining activities outside of faculty-approved research and coursework.

Cryptocurrency Mining and Malware Dangers

Attackers sometimes use phishing techniques to trick victims into clicking links that load cryptocurrency mining code on their computers. They may also infect websites with malicious code. Additionally, some websites contain code that runs on visitors’ computers, mining cryptocurrency for the website owner. The only sign victims may notice is a slowing of their computer's performance.

Be aware of the dangers of Phishing & Scams, and watch for websites that cause unexpectedly high resource usage.

Cryptocurrency Mining Puts U-M and Personal Data at Risk

Cryptocurrency mining using U-M resources or improperly secured personal resources:

  • Slows performance for legitimate users.
  • Can leave openings for attackers to exploit.
  • Increases electricity and computing costs.
  • Ties up IT staff who must troubleshoot performance or security issues.
  • Puts U-M data and your privacy at risk.

Protect the U, Protect Yourself

If you suspect unauthorized use of university resources for cryptocurrency mining, report it as a suspected security incident.

Protect yourself against unauthorized use of your own computer by following IT security best practices: keep your software and apps up-to-date, do not click suspicious links in email, do not open shared documents or email attachments.

For more information, see Phishing & Scams, Secure Your Devices, and Use a Secure Internet Connection.