The current cyptocurrency craze we find ourselves waist-deep in is beginning to make its way into every day life. Graphics card prices are through the roof, mainstream news outlets are covering the volatility of Bitcoin, and now it appears that even Russian nuclear scientists are getting in on the action. Unfortunately for them, it seems they didn’t really plan out their cryptocurrency mining scheme all that well.
You see, instead of going through the motions most crypto miners go through and buying hardware to mine on their personal time, the BBC reports that these scientists instead tried the use the supercomputer that belongs to the nuclear facility they worked for. It’s a good idea on paper, as the supercomputer at Russia’s Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov – where these scientists worked – has a capacity of 1 petaflop, offering plenty of power to mine those sweet, sweet Bitcoins.
There was just one problem: that supercomputer isn’t intended to maintain a connection to the internet, for obvious reasons. When those scientists attempted to connect it to the internet and get their mining scheme rolling, security teams were immediately alerted. So much for riding Bitcoin mania to riches.
In the end, those scientists were arrested, and will presumably no longer work at Sarov in the future. They’re now facing criminal charges, but it’s unclear how severe the punishment will be. The Sarov facility itself didn’t have a whole lot to say on the matter, noting only that there was “an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining.”
And that, it would seem, is that. If you find yourself bitten by the Bitcoin bug, it’s probably best to leave employer-owned hardware out of your mining ambitions, especially if you work in a field that requires tight enough security that even internet connections aren’t allowed.