Monday, July 19th 2021

Ukrainian Police Close Illegal Mining Farm with 3800 PlayStation 4 Consoles

The Ukrainian Security Service (USS) have recently exposed a large illegal cryptocurrency mining operation in the city of Vinnytsia. The mining farm was illegally connected to the power grid stealing power so efficiency didn't appear to be a major concern. The SSU seized 3800 game consoles, 500 graphics cards, 50 processors, and various documents with information of the operation. This is the first time we have seen the PlayStation 4 being used to mine Cryptocurrency however the idea isn't insane with various older consoles having been programmed to do so. The PlayStation 4 features an AMD GPU with 18 Compute Units and roughly 1.84 TFLOPs of single-precision compute performance while the PlayStation 4 Pro offers 4.2 TFLOPs.

Update Jul 19th: We have learned that these PlayStation 4 consoles were not being used for cryptocurrency mining and instead were part of a FIFA bot farm creating and leveling up accounts that could later be sold.
Sources: Ukrainian Security Service, Delo
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46 Comments on Ukrainian Police Close Illegal Mining Farm with 3800 PlayStation 4 Consoles

#1
EzioAs
I thought I heard someone (possibly here, possibly other sites) saying that using consoles to mine was a lie.
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#2
Rithsom
How am I supposed to take mining seriously when crap like this happens? :shadedshu:
EzioAsI thought I heard someone (possibly here, possibly other sites) saying that using consoles to mine was a lie.
Did this person have any substantial proof? Cause this looks like nothing but a mining operation to me. What else were they possibly doing with the consoles, folding for cancer research?
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#3
mechtech
Wow

I think companies are going to have to limit 1 per driver license or something.

I can’t even buy that much toilet paper ;) lol
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#4
Crackong
They bought cheap second hand PS4 for this ?
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#5
R-T-B
EzioAsI thought I heard someone (possibly here, possibly other sites) saying that using consoles to mine was a lie.
That was me. I hadn't been properly updated I suppose, I don't claim that anymore. Consider it withdrawn.
RithsomDid this person have any substantial proof?
To be fair, at the time in the discussion this was brought up, photos had not surfaced yet, so I claimed (correctly I'd argue given the evidence presented at the time) occam's razor said they were probably being scalped.

This is still dumb as rocks, because as I said elsewhere, regarding mining with consoles:
One of two things happens.

One.) You don't make a profit over electric

Two.) You steal electric, make a profit, only to be caught.

It's not popular, and with good reason.
It's like mining on a very poor efficiency motherboard with a single weak gpu. People don't do this either.
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#6
Rithsom
R-T-BTo be fair, at the time in the discussion this was brought up, photos had not surfaced yet, so I claimed (correctly I'd argue given the evidence presented at the time) occam's razor said they were probably being scalped.
Thanks for clarifying. Given the horrible efficiency of the last-gen consoles, I, too, wouldn't have expected anyone to use them for mining. The gains in crypto just aren't worth the risk of illegally siphoning kilowatts upon kilowatts of electricity to power the things. But alas, here we are with photos to prove that these morons were in fact mining with the consoles.
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#7
awesomesauce
I think you can install linux on ps4.

so it probably like this they doing
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#8
sepheronx
awesomesauceI think you can install linux on ps4.

so it probably like that they do
If that exploit exists that allows installing linux on PS4, many would be very interested in that. I cant seem to find anything on it though.

BUT

A few years ago there was a way to mine on console and it required you to use the consoles built in browser to access a site that would allow you to mine through the browser for Monero. I do not know if that exists anymore. I am assuming it does or there is alternatives to it. Earnings were only like a couple cents per day though. But if they were stealing electricity and there is a coin alternative to Monero that was more efficient to mine with a console, then I can see them making bank on it.
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#9
Anymal
I wonder how illegal they went to get enough money for 3800 ps4 consoles, half of million eur is a good start.
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#10
sepheronx
AnymalI wonder how illegal they went to get enough money for 3800 ps4 consoles, half of million eur is a good start.
depends if the consoles were all new or not.
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#11
Anymal
Even 150 per piece is fat half a million.
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#12
R-T-B
AnymalEven 150 per piece is fat half a million.
As I said, they were really really dumb. They should've just sold them. Legally I'd hope. Maybe they were "hot" (stolen) or something?

Their whole scheme seemed to hinge on rigged meters and not paying for electric. Friggin lol.
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#14
geof40
RithsomHow am I supposed to take mining seriously when crap like this happens? :shadedshu:



Did this person have any substantial proof? Cause this looks like nothing but a mining operation to me. What else were they possibly doing with the consoles, folding for cancer research?
This was it then, folding for cancer research.:)
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#16
Athlonite
geof40This was it then, folding for cancer research.:)
Maybe if they were old pre patched PS2's before Sony took the ability to load linux away

@Chomiq I fail to see what this to do with this particular story those cpu's were probably destined for some shitty iNet/gaming cafe
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#17
TranceHead
sepheronxIf that exploit exists that allows installing linux on PS4, many would be very interested in that. I cant seem to find anything on it though.

BUT

A few years ago there was a way to mine on console and it required you to use the consoles built in browser to access a site that would allow you to mine through the browser for Monero. I do not know if that exists anymore. I am assuming it does or there is alternatives to it. Earnings were only like a couple cents per day though. But if they were stealing electricity and there is a coin alternative to Monero that was more efficient to mine with a console, then I can see them making bank on it.
look up ps4 gentoo, plenty of tutorials around
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#18
sepheronx
TranceHeadlook up ps4 gentoo, plenty of tutorials around
well i'll be. I thought it couldn't be done.

But it looks to be specific to 5.05 firmware and if newer, then it may not be able to install. With that many PS4's that have been confiscated, and how little you would earn in mining with it, I will stick to the idea that the mining was done via a web browser based rather than this hack.

edit: I see there are other ways for newer firmware.
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#19
TranceHead
sepheronxwell i'll be. I thought it couldn't be done.

But it looks to be specific to 5.05 firmware and if newer, then it may not be able to install. With that many PS4's that have been confiscated, and how little you would earn in mining with it, I will stick to the idea that the mining was done via a web browser based rather than this hack.
runs from usb drive, i don't think there's anyway to get it into the internal drive
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#20
sepheronx
TranceHeadruns from usb drive, i don't think there's anyway to get it into the internal drive
ah, so if you just remove the usb drive, then it would simply run PS4 as normal then?

I guess it isn't so bad after all. A part of me thinks though that the added costs may not be worth it for mining like what, $0.08 a day? If that. Heck, as said earlier, they could have flipped those and probably earned more and legitimately (well I am assuming these weren't stolen and what not like the electricity was).
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#21
TranceHead
sepheronxah, so if you just remove the usb drive, then it would simply run PS4 as normal then?

I guess it isn't so bad after all. A part of me thinks though that the added costs may not be worth it for mining like what, $0.08 a day? If that. Heck, as said earlier, they could have flipped those and probably earned more and legitimately (well I am assuming these weren't stolen and what not like the electricity was).
and as of this moment, you can run linux on 7.55. you need a exploited firmware, no HEN mode, no linux
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#22
sepheronx
TranceHeadand as of this moment, you can run linux on 7.55. you need a exploited firmware, no HEN mode, no linux
i am not sure what version I have. I need to check.
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#23
micropage7
now anything that could be used as mining resources taken over by them, cpu, gpu, laptop, playstation, mobilephone, hdd, ssd next gaming mouse, speaker/headset :D
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#25
silentbogo
EzioAsI thought I heard someone (possibly here, possibly other sites) saying that using consoles to mine was a lie.
The thing is - you can mine on pretty much anything compute-compatible. The question is whether you should (at least under normal circumstances).


Up until now I wasn't keeping up with PS4 Linux development, so I did not even know that there's fully functional GPU acceleration and even a working AMDGPU-PRO driver.
Even so, the only reason this thing was viable even with stolen electricity, is probably because of stolen hardware as well.
Realistically, the best case scenario, is if they somehow managed to mine XMR, RVN, or VTC on these and achieved a performance level of at most 270X, it's still only gonna add up to ~$5/mo from each console (with a current rolling price on the used market at around $200).

Also, there's already an update to these news:
1) Given that СБУ also confiscated papers related to accounting and power usage, it is quite possible that power wasn't stolen in the first place(Vinnytsa oblenergo claims it wasn't stolen and it wasn't a mining operation). Our law enforcement tends to react first, and investigate later (e.g. guilty until proven innocent).
2) One of the more tech-savvy news outlets promptly noted that realistically this could've been a big botnet for online games(definitely more profitable and makes more sense than mining RVN or XMR at >2-3Y RoI not including operating expenses).

Given the ridiculousness of PS4 mining idea, I can also throw in a few more ideas on what this could've been used for: cheap Data center. With Gentoo fully operational, you can easily make more $$$ by renting out web hosts, or running a shitty unreliable VPS at below market price. Would be quite popular amongst fucktards "customers" that run spambots, hammering SBM servers and e-mail addresses, compile illegal databases for call centers, or scraping local fleebay and other eBoards for personal information (names/phones/contacts), which is a hu-u-u-u-u-uge problem in Ukraine. But given the technical competence of our security service (or even cyber-police), I doubt they'll even check what's on these PS4s.
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