Gamers playing Counter-Strike on the ESEA gaming network have unknowingly been mining Bitcoins for an unnamed staff member that’s involved with the network.
The mining began on April 14th and is thought to have affected some 14,000 gamers, Wired reported.
ESEA is an esports gaming community that also distributes its own ‘anti-cheating’ software, that it claims will give players better data and cut down on those using cheats.
In April, the firm considered adding a Bitcoin mining option to its anti-cheat client, but put a stop to the idea on April 12, according to an email from co-founder Craig Levine.
However, the next day a staff member went ahead and started distributing the code “for his own personal gain”, Levine said.
“What transpired the past two weeks is a case of an employee acting on his own and without authorisation to access our community through our company’s resources. As of this morning [Wednesday, May 1st], ESEA has made sure that all Bitcoin mining has stopped. ESEA is also in the process of taking all necessary steps internally to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”
A ESEA member discovered the illegal operation earlier this week.
Since its was brought to the company’s attention, it sought to explain the situation as simply as an “April Fool’s prank gone wrong” and a technical glitch, but the firm has now admitted that the mining was the result of a rogue employee’s actions.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that has become popular with merchant, subcultures and groups in the online world. Its digital state means the currency can be used in every country and accounts can’t be frozen – all of which has led it to be adopted by drug gangs and other illegal operations.
ESEA said it’s now plans to donate its employee’s ill-gotten Bitcoin haul to the American Cancer Society and will match the donation from its own funds.