Cyber Crime

Authorities arrest culprits for crypto mining at Ukraine nuclear plant

Crypto mining the “Wrong way” – In a nuclear facility.

Cryptocurrencies have lately been surprising everyone with their potential and causing a lot of headaches too – particularly for governments and regulatory agencies. But sometimes the reason isn’t their massive potential to undermine government currencies as in the case of the USA or their use in money laundering for example in Silk Road Marketplace’s case.

Talk about a student at Harvard who was found using the university’s supercomputer called Odyssey to mine Dogecoin, that headmaster who was caught mining Monero using school’s electricity. Or a professor at the National Science Foundation who was found to be mining Bitcoin using supercomputing resources. But it doesn’t end there.

In the latest, it has been revealed that mining equipment was found in South Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear power plant in a city named “Yuzhnoukrainsk.”

In a raid conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on 10 July, six Radeon RX 470 video cards, four power supplies, three switches, a hard drive, a USB, a motherboard and additional equipment were found in Office No.104 which is located in an administrative wing separate from the main buildings.

It’s worth mentioning that no outside computer equipment is allowed inside the particular area, a rule which was breached indefinitely.

 

A notable thing is that while the misuse of state resources by such an act is indeed a crime, critical information about the nuclear power plant’s security was also leaked due to this making it more significant than the aforementioned cases.

Moreover, such an incident has occurred before in rivaling Russia where several engineers were arrested at the Russian Federal Nuclear Center in an attempt to mine Bitcoin. Moving on to certain premises that were used by a military unit of the National Guard of Ukraine, unauthorized equipment was again found which included 16 video cards, a system unit, seven hard drives, 2 SSDs, a USB drive, and a router.

This isn’t the first time that poor security has been associated with the Energoatom National Atomic Energy Company – the state enterprise that is responsible for nuclear generation in Ukraine. Security experts such as Alexander Galushchenko and Andrei Pertsyukh have already alerted authorities on numerous occasions about classified documents available for open access and other security concerns.

For the time being, it is imperative that the Ukrainian government and its security agencies immediately work with experts to bridge in the security gaps that have emerged both as a result of this incident and others seen before otherwise they risk falling prey to everyone ranging from notorious black hat groups to state-sponsored hackers.

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