A Russian nuclear scientist at the Soviet-era Sarov nuclear facility has been fined, He was using one of the country’s most powerful supercomputers to mine bitcoin.
Denis Baykov was using the supercomputer without authorisation to mine bitcoin. As well, he was based at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics.
Baykov was using the computer to mine for personal use. He was also working together with two other individuals, This is the latest example of employees using employer resources for personal crypto enrichment.
According to reports in Russian media, Baykov and the others had developed special software to cover their tracks. They had also managed to prevent detection for some time.
The supercomputer, generally used in the development of nuclear weaponry, is capable of processing up to 1000 transactions per second. This is a significant amount of processing capacity for mining crypto.
The top-secret facility is of historical importance as the site of the development of the first Soviet-era nuclear weapon in the late 1940s. The ultra secure site is still home to some of the country’s most powerful computers. Baykov’s job was maintaining those computers.
The scam was first identified back in February. After that, the news made headlines internationally. It is a significant national security incident, given the sensitivity of the location.
Crypto mining is a computer-intensive process. The more processing-power at a miner’s disposal, the more profitable their mining is likely to be.
Transactions per second does not neatly translate into hashes per second for mining bitcoin.
In court, Baykov was found guilty of the charges and also fined 450,000 rubles – roughly $7,000.
His two co-conspirators are also yet to face their sentence.
Attorney for one of the men, Alexei Kovalyov, figures that the fine would be insignificant. This is in addition to the amount they had made from the ruse.
“I can say one thing for sure: they were not detained on the first day they began to mine.”