Microsoft bans cryptomining in Azure

Microsoft has officially banned cryptomining within its Azure cloud services in a rather inconspicuous way. 

An update to its Universal License Terms for Online Services, which mainly applies to its cloud platform, states that “mining cryptocurrency is prohibited without prior Microsoft approval.”

The post goes on to explain that written approval is needed for those looking to use the company’s services for cryptomining, clarifying that “neither customer, nor those that access an online service through customer” are permitted to leverage them for this purpose.

Dangers of mining

The policy change was also posted in the Azure Solution Area of Microsoft’s Partner Community webpage, under the heading “Important actions partners need to take to secure the partner ecosystem”.

Here, it was listed as among the changes to “minimize potential fraud damage to your customers’ subscriptions”. Again, it stressed the need for “written pre-approval… granted by Microsoft” to sanction the use of its servers for sourcing the digital tokens.

Microsoft is concerned about the dangers such activities present to their infrastructure. In responding to a query from the The Register, the tech giant commented that mining for cryptocurrencies can “cause disruption or even impairment to online services and its users”, adding that cryptomining “can often be linked to cyber fraud and abuse attacks such as unauthorized access to and use of customer resources.”

They did add the caveat, however, that cryptomining “may be considered for testing and research for security detections.”

Microsoft isn’t alone in restricting cryptomining on its cloud platforms. Google Cloud, Oracle and OHVcloud have all banned it from their services, and Amazon Web Services only allows it within its paid subscription tiers. 

Microsoft has prohibited mining for a while on its free tier, but has only now escalated its policy to its paid-for options as well.

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