Crypto mining puts Russian scientist behind bars for 3 years

A Russian nuclear scientist has been discovered that using his work computer for cryptocurrency mining was an absolute no-no.

Andrey Rybkin, an employee at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, was sentenced to three years in prison after he was found to have used his computer at work to mine for crypto, Meduza reported. Rybkin was also ordered to pay 200,000 rubles ($3,122) as part of the punishment. The charges against him included spreading computer viruses and obtaining illegal access to digital information through the use of his position as a researcher at the nuclear facility.

Rybkin was one of three employees found to be involved in the illegal operation. Andrei Shatokhin and Denis Baykov were also implicated and pleaded guilty to charges of crypto mining on unused work computers using their workplace’s local network. Each was ordered to pay a fine and received a four-year sentence which was suspended. It is unclear why Rybkin was actually sentenced to prison time and not the other two. Baykov was sentenced in October and fined 450,000 rubles.

According to law enforcement officials, the three were responsible for overseeing the upkeep of the secret site. They were responsible for ensuring that the technology was maintained and secured.

According to documents supplied by the court, the men claimed the computers they were using were unused and were only accessible to a local network. Between May and September in 2017, the three worked mainly at night to mine for cryptocurrencies, sharing the profits which amounted to about 1,140,000 rubles ($15,000).

According to a lawyer for one of the defendants, they were able to keep their illegal activity secret through the use of a software program developed by one of the individuals. This program covered their tracks, making it so that they were unable to be detected for nearly four months.

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