Russian scientists working in a top secret nuclear facility in the town of Sarov are now facing some serious time for trying to mine cryptocurrencies. The town of Sarov is so secret that it doesn’t even show up in any map and is surrounded by barb wire. This is where the USSR made its first nuclear bomb, it is also suspected that the polonium-210 that was used to kill Ex- FSB agent was acquired here.
The RFNC (Russian Federation Nuclear Center) employs more than 20,000 people and in 2011 they launched its new supercomputer that had the capacity of 1 petaflop, making it one of the fastest supercomputers in the world when it was built. It is able to do one thousand trillion operations per second. This supercomputer is not connected to the internet for security issues and that is how these scientists were caught. They were detained at the exact moment they were trying to connect the supercomputer to the internet.
The exact number of scientist arrested is unclear much less their names. They were arrested by the internal security team, however they were handed over to the FSB and criminal charges will be filed against them.
This is the second incident involving critical infrastructure being used for this purpose. The other incident involved a sewer plant getting infected with cryptocurrency-mining malware. The quick response of the internal security team prevented this from escalating any further.
Cybersecurity experts are observing how cryptocurrency-mining malware is becoming an unstoppable epidemic, with even Government sites getting infected with this malware and is now getting more popular than ransomware.