Ukraine Crypto-Miners Arrested For Compromising Nuclear Plant Security

Authored by Max Boddy via CoinTelegraph.com,

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has arrested power plant operators for mining cryptocurrency in the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant facility. 

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

English-language Ukrainian news site UNIAN reported the details of the arrest on Aug. 21. According to its article, the crypto miners compromised the nuclear facility’s security via their mining setup’s internet connection - and reportedly ended up leaking classified information on the plant’s physical protection system.

According to local media reports, on July 10, the SBU confiscated six Radeon RX 470 GPU video cards, a motherboard, power supplies and extension cords, a USB and hard drive, and cooling units installed in the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant.

The same day, a National Guard of Ukraine branch uncovered additional crypto mining equipment at same nuclear plant. In this search and seizure, 16 GPU video cards, 7 hard drives, 2 solid-state drives and router were uncovered.

Nuclear engineers attempted to mine Bitcoin with a supercomputer

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, a number of engineers at the Russian Federal Nuclear Center were arrested in February 2018 for attempting to mine Bitcoin (BTC) using one of the country’s largest supercomputers.

The computer reportedly had the ability to perform 1,000 trillion calculations per second, and is purposefully kept disconnected from the internet for security. Tatiana Zalesskaya, head of the press service for the research institute, said at the time:

"There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining [...] it is a technically hopeless and criminally punishable activity."

Nuclear energy and blockchain

Last October, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom announced that they would develop blockchain technology for the energy sector, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Rosatom IT department head Evgeniy Abakumov said:

"We are committed to integrating 4.0 technologies on a wider scale. IoT, AI, blockchain and others are to increase the efficiency of manufacturing process.”

Rosatom, at the time of writing, was reportedly looking to onboard new talent to develop energy tech in these three categories.