"Some reports have suggested the group was trying to use the center’s supercomputer to mine Bitcoin. Mining cryptocurrencies in this way requires huge amounts of computing power, and it’s common for miners to seek out cheap — and often illegal — sources of digital muscle; for example, by hijacking strangers’ computers.Scientists at Russian nuclear research facility arrested for mining cryptocurrency - The Verge
Whether or not the group targeted the center’s supercomputer or regular PCs isn’t clear. However, it seems that at least some of the machines they wanted to use had been air-gapped for security — meaning they were kept permanently offline to keep them safe from hackers. When the scientists tried to connect the computers to the internet to start their mining operations, they accidentally alerted the facility’s security team, who then contacted Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB)."
Monday, February 12, 2018
Scientists at Russian nuclear research facility arrested for mining cryptocurrency - The Verge