US Marine Corps Sets Bitcoin Ban on Military Devices

Bitcoin mining apps on government-issued devices could pose a threat to military cybersecurity.
Chris Young

A U.S. Marine Corps memo released on Tuesday states that service members are now banned from mining cryptocurrency on government-issued phones or devices.

Though it might seem like a fairly innocuous activity to ban on the U.S. Marine Corps' part, the military organization is worried that crypto mining apps might compromise its cybersecurity.

The military is clamping down on bitcoin mining, dating, and gambling apps as they look to mitigate cybersecurity threats against them.


The Marine Corps' bitcoin directive

The crypto mining ban isn't the first time the military has felt the need to restrict what soldiers download and use on their smartphones.

As Futurism points out, in 2018, the Pentagon had to order soldiers to stop sharing their location with fitness tracker apps after it was discovered they were revealing the locations and layouts of military bases around the world, including that of Area 51.

The memo only mentions government-issued devices, so it's unlikely that marines will be banned from using their own hardware to mine bitcoin. The memo, which says any prohibited apps will be automatically deleted, also didn't list any issues with bitcoin mining itself, instead citing security concerns with the apps themselves.

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Does bitcoin mining really pose a cybersecurity threat?

Though the U.S. Marine Corps doesn't specify in its memo whether any cybersecurity breach had occurred due to soldiers using bitcoin mining apps, it's safe to assume that the directive has been put in place for a reason.

In a blog post about bitcoin mining, McAfee recently pointed out the risk of malware that infects the devices of others to use their computing power for bitcoin mining. ZDNet also recently also reported that the three most prevalent threats online come from cryptocurrency miners.

The digital currency, which still has the potential to be very lucrative for investors, has unfortunately attracted a fair share of malicious players.

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