February 16, 2019

Russian nuclear weapons staff arrested in cryptocurrency scheme

10 February 2018, 03:29 | Devin Moran

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for 'Bitcoin mining plot'

In Soviet Russian Nuclear Facility Bitcoin Mines You

"Indeed, there was an attempt to unauthorized use of office computing capacities for personal purposes, including for so-called mining", Zalesskaya, told Interfax.

Mining, a process that verifies cryptocurrency transactions, can be a profitable enterprise if you have a powerful enough computer, and in earlier days could generate useful returns.

It is one of the two most powerful supercomputers in Russian Federation; the second such machine is based in the Siberian town of Snezhinsk. The supercomputer is not supposed to be connected to the internet, which was the scientists' undoing-once they attempted an online connection to mine cryptocurrency, an alert was sent to the facility's security department, which in turn contacted the Federal Security Service (FSB).

It's a historic developer of nuclear weapons that is still very much involved in keeping Russia's arsenal ready and up-to-date.

That's an terrible lot of computing power to point towards cryptomining, and is likely to outperform the typical dude in his back bedroom who has set up half a dozen graphics cards into his own cryptocurrency mining rig.

Not the Brightest Idea
Clandestine Crunch: Russians Busted Using Supercomputer to Mine Cryptocurrency

Sarov, the location of a nuclear weapons lab where scientist are accused of a cyrptocurrency scheme, is also home to this museum showing several historic Russian nuclear bombs.

"As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them", the facility's press service said.

Using a supercomputer, miners would be able to solve the complex puzzles required to create more Bitcoin much quicker than a traditional computer would have been able to.

The town is surrounded by a tightly guarded no-man's-land, with barbed wire fences to keep the curious away.

Mining crypto-currencies requires great computational power and huge amounts of energy. There are even suspicions that the radioactive polonium-210 used to kill ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 came from Sarov. BBC News reported that the culprits were mining "Bitcoin".

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