The ukranian authorities are investigating a serious security breach on a nuclear plant, after some of the employees connected parts of their internal network to Internet for mining cryptocoins.
The investigation is being directed by the Secret Bureau of Ukraine (SBU) and is considered a maximum level incident as a breach of state secrets due the classification of the nuclear centrals as a critical infrastructure.
The investigators are also examinating if the IT hackers could have used the mining platforms as pivot to deposit to the network of the nuclear energy plant and recover information about their systems, as data about the defenses and physical protection of the plant.
The incident had place in July in a nuclear energy plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk. Agents from the SBU confiscated computers and equipments specifically built for the mining of cryptocoins, installed in the administrative offices of the plant.
The computers were specially built for this activity, with a metal chasis that hosted basic parts from a computer, besides the power supplies and aditional refrigeration systems to keep the functioning of even 6 graphic cards AMD Radeon RX 470, mainly in charge of the process.
Various employees have been accused for their participation in this operation. It is not known if there are some military personnel involved. The authorities believe that the suspicious people took advantage of a recent raising in the price of the commerce of cryptocoins, after a big period of downs.
It is not the only case
It is not the first time that it is registered a similar incident like the Ukranian one and different personnel have abused of their position using this kind of infrastructure that offer big sources of energy and IT power for the mining of cryptocoins.
In February 2018, the russian authorities caught some engineers from the Russian Nuclear Center for using the agency’s supercomputer for this activity. One month later, australian officials began an investigation about a similar case in the Meteorological Office, where the employees used the working computers to mine cryptocoins. In April 2018, an employee of the National Romanian Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering Investigation (which counts with one of the most powerful lasers in the world) was also arrested for a similar case. Obviously, without authorisation and breaching dangerously the security of some critical infrastructures that cannot connect to general networks like internet.