Mining rig at Ukrainian university

Authorities in Russia and Ukraine have arrested suspects this past week on accusations of using work computers to mine Bitcoin.

By far the most interesting case happened in Russia, where FSB secret service agents arrested multiple suspects who had used one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoin.

Scientists mine Bitcoin using nuclear centre's supercomputer

The incident is investigated by the FSB and not police because the supercomputer was located at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) in Sarov, Russia's leading nuclear laboratory.

Sarov is an isolated city kept under constant guard by the Russian military, and only scientists and employees of the nuclear centre are allowed to enter, leave, or take residence in the city.

Russian news agency Interfax says the supercomputer that was used to mine Bitcoin was a secure system and was not supposed to be connected online, due to the data it houses and processes.

The suspects apparently connected the one-petaflop supercomputer to the Internet in order to mine Bitcoin without realizing this would trigger alerts with the institution's security staff. Suspects were immediately identified and handed over to authorities. The number of suspects, or their names, have not been made public.

Ukrainian professor mines Bitcoin at school

But the Russian arrests weren't alone. Also on Friday, Ukrainian police also made a very similar arrest. According to a press release, Ukrainian authorities arrested a professor from one of the universities in the city of Lutsk for using the institution's resources to mine Bitcoin.

Video footage from the suspect's arrest shows that the suspect had created a mini data center at his office, running several GPU-based mining rigs.

Such rigs are known to consume lots of electricity and create a lot of noise, most likely the reason he was found out and reported to authorities.

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