Microsoft bans cryptocurrency mining on its cloud servers

Microsoft joins the list of cloud providers banning cryptocurrency mining. In an update to its terms of use on December 1, the software publisher prohibits the hosting of minors in its services. According to our colleagues from The register that relays the information, this change particularly concerns the Azure application platform.

Possible exemption?

That “Universal Online Services License Terms” state thus “acceptable use policy” and adopt prohibitions against “cryptocurrency mining (…) without Microsoft’s prior approval”. The American giant leaves the option of exceptionally requesting a waiver “prior writing from Microsoft” to drive a minor under the conditions specified in the new user license.

As a reminder, mining designates all operations performed by an operator for the benefit of the network of a cryptocurrency. It is clear that the computer performs a calculation against a more or less significant gain of digital assets. The most classic mining is “proof of work”, which validates a transaction on the network. Mining software can consume a lot of a system’s resources. In a data center, this operation can affect the availability of services and contribute to reducing the life of the physical equipment.

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What framework for current licenses?

Microsoft’s decision was announced in a memo from Microsoft Partner Development Manager Daniil Biktimirov to customers of the company’s services. Sir. Biktimirov clarifies that the new ban on mining applies “for all new licenses”. For those currently in progress, the new service usage policy will take effect “during their renewal”.

During this period of time, when a wobble remains, Microsoft suggests “request prior written permission (…) before using online services (…) for cryptocurrency mining, regardless of the duration of the subscription”. Current customers are therefore strongly encouraged to send their request to Microsoft to use a miner.

Microsoft justifies itself

Contacted by The registerThe Redmond company specifies the reasons for this change of course and the nature of mining projects that could be tolerated on its platforms.

The ban on mining is presumed “protect more” customers and “reduce the risk of interruption or degradation of services in the Microsoft cloud”. According to the Windows publisher, mining could lead to “a degradation of online services for its users and can often be associated with cyber fraud and abuse attacks, such as unauthorized access and use of customer resources”.

Moreover, the exceptions to the rule seem to be few. Mining on a Microsoft cloud server can “taken up for consideration” to “security detection testing and research”. A very restrictive measure, which is half the ban on most conventional uses. By taking this decision, Microsoft joins the positions of Google Cloud, Oracle, the French OVH or the free version of Amazon Web Services on banning mining.

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