21 September 2020


IT News reports that Jonathan Khoo has been sentenced  in Sydney Local Court to a 15-month intensive correction order after pleading guilty to charges regarding his unauthorised modification, as an IT contractor, of CSIRO's data systems to engage in cryptocurrency mining. 

Khoo was charged by the Australian Federal Police in May last year after installing and running mining scripts on CSIRO’s two high performance computers that are also used by other entities such as the Royal Australian Navy and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. The charges included unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment and unauthorised modification of restricted data. The maximum penalty for the charge of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment is 10 years imprisonment. 

The AFP's 2019 media release stated

The man is scheduled to appear in Sydney Local Court (Downing Centre) today (21 May 2019) in response to the following charges:

  • Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, contrary to section 477.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

  • Unauthorised modification of restricted data, contrary to section 478.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Acting Commander Chris Goldsmid, Manager Cybercrime Operations, said alleged abuse of public office is a very serious matter. 

“Australian taxpayers put their trust in public officials to perform vital roles for our community with the utmost integrity. Any alleged criminal conduct which betrays this trust for personal gain will be investigated and prosecuted,” he said.

Khoo generated $9,422 worth of cryptocurrency in the form of Monero and Ethereum in early 2018. 

Although there was no “permanent impairment to CSIRO operations", the mining caused a "loss of productivity", with CSIRO referring to reduced capacity to run legitimate jobs on the devices as costing some $76,668. Unsurprisingly Khoo was "incredibly remorseful".