Cryptocurrency mining has taken something of a backseat since Bitcoin crashed in early 2018. With the price steadily recovering, however, it is still practiced by a lot of people looking to essentially make a little money using nothing more than the power of their PC. It does, however, perhaps come to something when staff at a nuclear power plant not only feel the need to engage in this but also doing so on the company time!
In a report via ZDNET, however, staff working at a nuclear plant in Ukraine did exactly this. Now, I know what you’re thinking… did they use the plants ‘supercomputer’ to generate Bitcoin? No, unfortunately, it’s a lot more disturbing than that.
Nuclear Plant Workers Compromise Security by Mining Cryptocurrency
So what exactly happened here? Well, various workers at the plant were found to be bringing in their own mining systems. They would then hook them up and run them from the ‘office’. This, of course, has a number of benefits for them. Most notably the fact that they’re running up someone else’s electric bill rather than their own. This isn’t, incidentally, uncommon as we once reported how a schools headmaster in China was running his (surprisingly elaborate) cryptocurrency mining set-up from the school he ran.
To achieve this, however, they had to connect their systems to the ‘work’ internet. As such, a nuclear power plant was exposed to the internet at large. Yes, no security between the outside world and a nuclear plant other than (probably) Windows Defender! – I’d dread to think of the ransomware price placed on a nuclear power plant!
What Has Happened Since?
Since the discovery (which came following a government raid) it has been reported that several staff members have been arrested. They (as you might expect) have had their equipment seized, and likely face very serious charges likely leading to a custodial sentence. This isn’t just stealing electricity, after all, it’s compromising a nuclear power plants security! Oh, and the small matter of that the plant (as most do) had a strict no external technology policy.
Although details on their set-ups have not entirely been disclosed, it is known that at least 2 mining systems were found featuring a total of 11 AMD Radeon 470 graphics cards.
We do, of course, hope that this is only an isolated incident. Otherwise, we can only pray that this acts as a deterrent to anyone else who thinks mining on the company clock is a safe and sensible idea!
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!