Russian nuclear researcher jailed for illegally mining crypto

A Russian nuclear researcher has been jailed for three years for illegally mining cryptocurrency at work.

Andrei Rybkin and two other workers were sentenced on Thursday over a string of offences including propagating viruses and gaining illegal access to information by using a professional position, according to Latvian-based Russian news website Meduza.

The men exploited unused computers and a LAN to mine cryptocurrency between May and September 2017, often at night.

Rybkin was also ordered to pay a $3,122 (200,000 ruble) fine.

Russian investigators estimate the damage caused to the government-run facility was more than $15,000 (1,140,000 rubles).

Last month, it emerged that workers at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant were arrested after allegedly using the plant’s equipment to mine cryptocurrency.

According to a Coin Rivet article for the Daily Express, court documents seen by Ukrainian media outlet InternetUA state the operation could have exposed top-secret intel about the security of the plant as a result of the unauthorised and unprotected connection to the internet.

Miners threatened the safety of the nuclear facility by using the internet connection to make a profit on cryptocurrency transactions.

Security personnel discovered unauthorised computer equipment in the facility and seized a media converter, graphics cards, and coolers used to mine crypto.

Cryptocurrency is currently a grey area in Russia. Moscow has appeared at times to embrace it while simultaneously implementing legislation to restrict it.

This week, it emerged that Russia may ban Facebook and Telegram if the US decides to block the launch of Libra.

According to President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for IT, Dmitry Peskov, if Libra launches without sufficient control measures, “the likelihood of Facebook being blocked” will increase in Russia.

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