power plant

Employees connect nuclear plant to the internet so they can mine cryptocurrency

Image: Viktor Kiryanov

Ukrainian authorities are investigating a potential security breach at a local nuclear power plant after employees connected parts of its internal network to the internet so they could mine cryptocurrency.

The investigation is being led by the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU), who is looking at the incident as a potential breach of state secrets due to the classification of nuclear power plants as critical infrastructure.

Investigators are examining if attackers might have used the mining rigs as a pivot point to enter the nuclear power plant’s network and retrieve information from its systems, such as data about the plant’s physical defenses and protections.

Mining rig seized in July

According to authorities, the incident took place in July at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, located near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, in southern Ukraine.

It’s unknown how the scheme was discovered, but on July 10 the SBU raided the nuclear power plant, from where it seized computers and equipment specifically built for mining cryptocurrency.

This equipment was found in the power plant’s administration offices, and not on its industrial network.

Confiscated equipment included two metal cases containing basic computer parts, but with additional power supplies, coolers, and video cards. According to court documents [1, 2], one case held six Radeon RX 470 GPU video cards, and the second five.

Further, the SBU also found and seized additional…

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