Russian Nuclear Scientists Attempt Bitcoin Mining
In a major national security breach, Nuclear engineers working for All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental physics at the Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, used the supercomputer to mine cryptocurrencies.
As per the sources, engineers commandeered a supercomputer which is not meant to be connected to the internet in order to prevent intrusion. Upon connecting the Supercomputer to the internet, the nuclear centre’s security department was immediately alerted. The connected supercomputer has the capability to execute one thousand trillion i.e., 1 petaflop operations per second.
Russina Federal Nuclear Centre
The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov is an important defense establishment where Soviet Union’s first nuclear weapon was developed. The centre employs around 20,000 people and is overseen by ‘Rosatom’ the Russian nuclear agency.
It is one of the important centers for developing war heads. In 2011, Centre installed this supercomputer which at that time was 12th most powerful computer in the world.
Closed City - Sarov
Sarov is a restricted city in the Nizhny Novgorod region, which is around 500 km east of Moscow. The city was earlier called as ‘Arzamas-16’ during the Soviet Era. Sarov is still a closed city whose inhabitants are subject to travel restrictions.
Sarov is surrounded by a tightly guarded no-man’s land with barbed wire fences. It is also rumored that the radioactive polonium-210 which was used to kill ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 was brought from Sarov.
Post the alert, Russian security authorities’ swiftly plunged into action and arrested many employees which included engineers, scientists, etc. Head of Research Institute’s Press Service ‘Tatyana Zalesskaya’ stated that, “There has been unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining.”
Tatyana further added that, “Their activities were stopped in time.” She also mentioned that“The bungling miners have been detained by the competent authorities. As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them.”
This is not the first case in Russia in which a government asset was used to mine cryptos. In October 2017, two officials of the Crimea Council of Ministers were fired for mining crypto currencies using government computer facilities. The Russian Federal Security Service identified the unsanctioned activities and fired the officials before they were able to realize their profits.
Other Mining Pursuits in Russia
There have been reports that few industrial facilities in Russia are being used for crypto-mining. Recently, one businessman ‘Aleksey Kolesnik’ bought two power plants for crypto mining. This is because mining cryptos require great computational power and huge amounts of energy.
It is also learnt that The Ice Rock Mining Company has plans to setup crypto mining facility in a cave in Khazakhstan. This is because the cave has natural cold temperature in the underground bunker and is close to a hydro electric power plant.