Ruskie boffins blasted for using nuke bomb lab's supercomputer to mine crypto-rubles

Kremlin goes nuclear on sly digi-cash-crafting eggheads

By Iain Thomson in San Francisco

Posted in HPC, 9th February 2018 19:59 GMT

Engineers at Russia's top nuclear weapons lab have been arrested – after the eggheads were caught using one of the supercomputers to mine cryptocurrency.

The government-run research facility at Sarov, southeast of Moscow, has been developing nuke bomb technology since the 1940s. It is a closed town, meaning you need a permit just to visit the area. Security is so tight it doesn't appear on maps.

A pair of unnamed boffins at the site were using the lab's petaflop-grade supercomputer to mine digital currency, but were discovered and collared by President Putin's agents, it is claimed.

"There was an attempt to unauthorized use of office computing capacities for personal purposes, including for so-called mining," Tatyana Zalesskaya, head of the research institute's press service, told Interfax on Friday.

"Similar attempts have recently been registered in a number of large companies with large computing capacities, which will be severely suppressed at our enterprises. This is technically a hopeless and criminal offense."

The facility uses supercomputers to model nuclear explosions and their effects without having to blow anything up and violating the nuke bomb test ban treaties Russia has signed.

We're told the engineers were snared when they tried to connect the computer to the internet. That's a massive infosec no-no: security teams noticed it immediately, and called in Russia's crack intelligence outfit, the FSB. A criminal investigation is underway, and the brainiacs are unlikely to keep their jobs, we reckon. ®

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