Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant Used to Illegally Mine Crypto

Employees at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant are suspected for mining cryptocurrency using the plant’s network. Supposedly, plant workers had set up several cryptocurrency mining rigs inside the power plant.

Nuclear power plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk found to mine crypto

This news was reported by Forbes on August 24th, and recounts an earlier report by the Ukrainian UNIAN news website. According to the piece, this all took place at South Ukraine’s second-largest power plant, in the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk. 

Officials from the Ukrainian security service, SBU, supposedly searched the plant on July 10th. During this raid, the SBU officials are said to have seized two crypto mining hardware rigs from an office inside the power plant.

What’s more, the hardware rigs are said to have been found in the plant’s administrative section, and were connected with fiber-optics and network cables. However, this was apparently not all that the SBU uncovered during the raid.

On the same day, a ”National Guard of Ukraine branch” found additional crypto mining equipment at the very same power plant. During this raid, officials supposedly uncovered ”16 GPU video cards, seven hard drives, two solid-state drives and routers”.

”Those tasked with defending the plant could well be behind the scheme”

Moreover, Forbes reports that this was ”at the barracks of the National Guard tasked with protecting the plant”. According to the Russian news network RT, ”the people who were supposed to be defending the highly dangerous piece of Ukrainian infrastructure could well have been behind the scheme.”

Perhaps most notably, the hackers are said to have ”compromised the nuclear facility’s security via their mining setup internet connection”. What’s more, this also supposedly caused a leak of classified information ”on the plant’s physical protection system”. This response is mainly due to the nuclear plant’s classification as ”critical national infrastructure”.

The SBU is currently investigating the incident. According to Forbes, the SBU are regarding this as a potential breach of state secrets. Moreover, this naturally also includes the misappropriation of electricity, to power the rigs, along with ”internet resources”.

Nonetheless, it is not clear whether any classified information was actually leaked, or that it could have been. Moreover, it is also unclear how many people have been charged in relation to the incident.

This is not the first time that crypto mining rigs have been set up during unusual circumstances. However, this is seemingly the first time that a nuclear power plant has been involved.