Illicit cryptocurrency mining isn’t usually associated with state-level security compromises. Then again, Bitcoin hackers don’t often target nuclear power plants. Yet according to a report on the Ukrainian UNIAN news website, that’s exactly what happened at South Ukraine’s second-largest nuclear power plant, south of Kiev in the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk.
What was found during the nuclear power plant raid?
Detectives from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) searched the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant on July 10. During the raids, two bespoke cryptocurrency mining hardware rigs were seized from office 104 in the plant’s administrative wing, along with fiber-optic and network cables.
Coindesk has reported that, on the same day, “a National Guard of Ukraine branch uncovered additional crypto mining equipment at the same nuclear plant. In this search and seizure, 16 GPU video cards, seven hard drives, two solid-state drives and routers were uncovered.” This was at the barracks of the National Guard tasked with protecting the plant. The Russian international television network RT has said that “the people who were supposed to be defending the highly dangerous piece of Ukrainian infrastructure could well have been behind the scheme.”
How was the nuclear power plant security compromised?
The UNIAN report, via Cointelegraph, stated that the cryptominers “compromised the nuclear facility’s security via their mining setup internet connection,” and “ended up leaking classified information on the plant’s physical protection system.”
According to a ZDNet report, the SBU is investigating the incident “as a potential breach of state secrets due to the classification of nuclear power plants as critical infrastructure.” As well as the apparent intent to misappropriate electricity and internet resources to mine cryptocurrency, the SBU is also…