Several Russian scientists have reportedly been detained by the authorities after they attempted to use a supercomputer to mine digital currency. The scientists, who work on Russian nuclear warheads at the Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov, were caught as they tried to connect the facility’s computer to the internet, according to reports from the BBC.
The Sarov nuclear facility is the site at which the former USSR constructed its first atomic bomb in the late 1940s and remains a highly secure area where access is strictly regulated by the government. The supercomputer the scientists attempted to co-opt is intentionally separated from internet access to prevent online security breaches. That attempt to take the computer online apparently set off an alarm that alerted security personnel.
The facility issued a statement that acknowledged the incident: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining."
According to press service head Tatyana Zaleeskaya, similar incidents have been occurring in various companies throughout Russia:
"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.”