Two Russian Nationals Prosecuted for Mining Crypto on State Computers

Two Russian nationals are being prosecuted for purportedly crypto mining on Russian government-owned computer systems, state news office TASS revealed on December 16.

“In Russia, there have been two cases recently when people were brought to criminal responsibility for getting access to computers [of state organizations] and using them to mine cryptocurrencies,” TASS quotes Nikolay Murashov as saying. Murashov is deputy director of the National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents.

As per the TASS report, one of the nationals is a resident of Kurgan who utilized nearly an entire botnet in different districts of the nation. A criminal case was started against a second national for utilizing the site of JSC Rostovvodokanal for mining. The report provides few subtleties but quotes Murashov as saying the hackers “infected” website pages and mined digital currency at soon as the pages were viewed in the browser.

Murashov said organizations must be vigilant for suspicious activity on their systems, regardless of whether no activity is quickly distinguished.

“Up to 80 percent of the computer’s free power can be used to generate virtual coins, and a legitimate user may not even know about it,” he stated.

Unsanctioned crypto-mining schemes have become prevalent in Russia. County governments have discovered activities sneaking on their servers, as have airports and oil transport companies.

In October, three nuclear scientists were penalized and convicted for unlawfully mining bitcoin in the Sarov lab, where the previous Soviet Union created its first nuclear bombs.

The government asserts cryptocurrency mining is widespread. In 2017, a top technology advisor to President Vladimir Putin evaluated that around 20 percent to 30 percent of gadgets “are infected with” crypto mining viruses.

Russian cybersecurity specialists and some in the administration have called that figure fake.