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Bitcoin Crime

Russian Nuclear Scientists Arrested For 'Bitcoin Mining Plot' (bbc.com) 84

Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies, BBC reported Friday, citing local media. From the report: The suspects had tried to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say. The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area. The centre's press service said: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining." The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet -- to prevent intrusion -- and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says. "As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them," the press service told Interfax news agency.

Russian Nuclear Scientists Arrested For 'Bitcoin Mining Plot'

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  • Good thing this facility was Top Secret. I would hate to hear about what goes on inside.
    • In Soviet Russia, bitcoin mines YOU!

    • Good thing this facility was Top Secret. I would hate to hear about what goes on inside.

      One wonders how secret it can be if there are Getty Images of it.

      • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:47PM (#56095957) Homepage Journal
        Top. That is how secret it is. Of all the secrets in the world, it is the top.
      • by es330td ( 964170 )

        One wonders how secret it can be if there are Getty Images of it.

        Taking a picture of a computer tells you nothing of what is in it. Neither does a picture of Fort Know tell you how much gold it does (or doesn't) contain.

        • Everyone knows the gold at Fort Know was sent to Fort Knox by the Bilderburgs a long time ago.
        • by torkus ( 1133985 )

          Your analogy fails miserable as most do.

          TBH a picture of a computer DOES tell you a fair bit about it. Having an idea of the power/cooling/size alone coupled with the approx tech level can give you a good approximation of the computing power.

          Now, it's Russia so it's probably just an Alienware box with fancy lights they imported illegally but let's give em a break. .000000001 BTC is still worth some rubles :)

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Good thing this facility was Top Secret. I would hate to hear about what goes on inside.

        One wonders how secret it can be if there are Getty Images of it.

        That photo was taken at a museum. Either that or Russian nuclear production facilities have some very interesting decorative choices. Of course, it could still be at the facility, just not a restricted access area.

        • One wonders how secret it can be if there are Getty Images of it.

          That photo was taken at a museum. Either that or Russian nuclear production facilities have some very interesting decorative choices. ....

          CBS news says (https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/which-countries-have-nukes/3/ ):
          "Here, a nuclear museum staffer cleans the first Soviet nuclear bomb, tested in 1949, just in front of the country's first thermonuclear bomb."
          CREDIT: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

          Yep, image is of a museum.

        • That photo was taken at a museum. Either that or Russian nuclear production facilities have some very interesting decorative choices. Of course, it could still be at the facility, just not a restricted access area.

          It was taken at the facility... 60 years ago from the looks of it.

      • Britain has some not so secret secret bases too... They even have sign posts pointing to them:

        http://www.exec-comms.com/Pict... [exec-comms.com]

        • so does area51 (Groom Lake Nevada) even though there are signs pointing to it i dare anyone to go visit beyond the "No Trespassing" signs
    • Governments really hate when you use their equipment for private purposes. Especially if you are making money, making drugs, or...
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      In the USA the lab secrets walk out to waiting spies from China for cash.
      In Russia secret cash generated by hard work in lab.
  • by DavidMZ ( 3411229 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:25PM (#56095801)
    They will end up mining!
  • "They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says."

    I knew it!!! MsMash is a Russian spy too!!!!

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday February 09, 2018 @12:28PM (#56095821)

    Wouldn't such a plot be called a 'claim'?

  • What would the hash rate be of a supercomputer mining Bitcoin?

    • by higuita ( 129722 )

      that was probably what they were trying to find ... ...and of course, if it was good, probably leave it running for a few hours^H^H^H^Hdays^H^H^H^Hweeks^H^HOHHH.MY.WE.ARE.RICH^W^Cquit^Wabort^C^Ccccccc... (sh*t the police is here)

  • Even if they'd got their operation up and running, neighboring towns would grow suspicious as all of their lights dimmed at the same time.

    • by orlanz ( 882574 )

      I think the whole world would have noticed the sudden influx of coins from a single wallet.

  • That kills use of the cliche, "It doesn't take a nuclear scientist..."
    • Brain scientists and rocket surgeons would know better.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    they were arrested for connecting a top secret supercomputer to the internet. that is going to get you in trouble whether you're mining bitcoin or sharing cat memes.

  • In more recent soviet days, as long as the scientists towed the party line they were treated pretty well, at least theoretically. Science was praised. Scientists were rewarded relatively well. Perhaps times have changed. This incident makes me wonder just how bad things are getting these days in Russia for scientists, economically. I would not be surprised if these guys were pretty poor off and decided to help themselves to some of the resources at their disposal. I'm just trying to understand what mig

    • Yeah, borrowing a super computer to make bitcoins is actually a pretty funny idea. At an academic supercomputer that'd be an awesome prank of sorts. Connecting an intentionally offline computer to the network to do so should've given them pause, though...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2018 @01:59PM (#56096417)

    Posting this anonymously, even though I'm pretty sure the statue of limitations is long past.

    Many years ago I got a job for SGI on site at big customer. This was back when the Origin 2000 was the new hotness. This site had a whole O2k buildout (3 or 4 racks worth of compute cores, 32 R10k MIPS processors clocked at around 200Mhz all connected via these thick cable bundles into a hypercube topology IIRC) purely for benchmarking and compatibility testing. They were used only sporadically. This was also the time when the distributed.net RSA cracking challenge was running. So obviously I set up a process that would run distributed.net across all of the cores, but would also monitor for any access to the machine and shut the whole thing down, not so much because I was trying to hide it but because I didn't want to impact any tests other people wanted to run. I also made it so I had to start it manually after verifying that the machine was truly idle. The only problem was that the machine had LEDs that indicated CPU activity, and when the process was running they would be full up, but as soon as someone logged in to investigate they would be gone. Luckily nobody who worked there was the suspicious type.

    After one long weekend I came back to discover that my aggregation machine (The O2k didn't talk directly to distributed.net servers, I ran a local server to cut down on the internet traffic) had suffered a drive failure and had been down for several days. I took the morning to get the aggregation server restarted and working. A couple of days later one of my friends mentioned that I was #3 for that day on the distributed.net statistics page. Oops.

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