Data Centre


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


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. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

WekaIO almost, but not quite, summits Summit supercomputer on storage performance

Takes second place in IO-500 10 Node Challenge

US regains supercomputer crown from Chinese, for now

America! FLOP yeah!

Cray's pre-exascale Shasta supercomputer gets energy research boffins hot under collar

US DoE sees multiple CPU, GPU, interconnect support and snaps one up for $146m

What's big, blue, and short on Intel? The supercomputer world's podium: USA tops Top500 with IBM Power9

Arm gets a look-in with first petascale machine, China slips into third

HPE supercomputer is still crunching numbers in space after 340 days

No rad hardening so even HPE is 'pleasantly surprised'

HPE pulls sheets off largest Arm-based supercomputer Astra

Will run national security, energy workloads

An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

Wow, the SGI brand. What a blast from the past, sorry, future

Heads up: Fujitsu tips its hand to reveal exascale Arm supercomputer processor – the A64FX

Hot Chips AKA how it learned to stop loving SPARC64

SciNet supercomputer's GPFS trick: We node what you did, burst buffer

Good news for Canadian HPC models

Nope, the NSA isn't sitting in front of a supercomputer hooked up to a terrorist’s hard drive

Analysis They wish. Backdooring, encryption, and governments