Mining for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin requires a lot of processing power, particularly as the process of mining continues to grow more complex. Those who are seriously into mining spend tens of thousands of dollars on special rigs to mine bitcoin. One can only imagine how useful a supercomputer would be for this purpose but perhaps it would be best to shun the thought if you happen to work at a nuclear weapons lab in Russia.
As you can probably imagine, the Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a heavily guarded facility. It’s where the Soviet Union’s first nuclear bomb was designed and where work continues to this day.
The center’s press service has confirmed that “There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining.” The scientists who tried to do this have since been arrested and handed over to the Federal Security Service. A criminal case has been launched against them but it hasn’t been revealed how many people have been detained in connection to this incident.
They had attempted to use the lab’s 1-petaflop capable supercomputer that was meant for simulating tests of nuclear weapons designs to mine cryptocurrencies. Since the supercomputer wasn’t supposed to be connected to the internet in order to prevent intrusions, an attempt to hook it up to the internet alerted the center’s security department.
An investigation was launched immediately and those found to be involved in this effort to use the supercomputer for personal gain were taken into custody. So even if you’re daring enough to use your employer’s supercomputer for mining bitcoin, perhaps don’t entertain the idea when you’re working for a nuclear weapons facility in Russia of all places.