The Security Service of Ukraine has exposed and documented the illegal extraction of large amounts of electricity in Vinnytsia. The attackers exchanged cryptocurrency directly in one of the former premises of JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho. Currently, it is the largest underground crypto-farm discovered by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies: almost 5,000 units of computer equipment were seized.

SBU officers established that the illegal crypto-farm was created by residents of Kyiv and Vinnytsia. They used one of the former warehouses of Vinnytsiaoblenerho JSC, which is located on the company’s industrial site.

The attackers illegally took electricity from the networks of JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho. To hide their activities, they used conventional means of accounting for electricity consumption.

According to preliminary conclusions of experts, the monthly amount of losses from such activities can range from 5 to 7 million UAH. At the same time, the illegal withdrawal of electricity could lead to more global consequences – entire neighborhoods of Vinnytsia could be left without electricity.

Militiamen registered criminal proceedings under part 2 of Art. 188-1 (theft of water, electricity or heat through its unauthorized use) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

During the authorized searches at the place of operation of the farm and at the addresses of the defendants, the following were seized:

  • 3800 game consoles;
  • more than 500 video cards;
  • 50 processors;
  • draft documentation on electricity consumption accounting;
  • notebooks, phones, flash drive

Currently, operational and investigative actions are underway to establish the full range of persons involved in illegal activities, including the involvement of officials of JSC “Vinnytsiaoblenergo”.

Exposure measures were carried out by the State Security Counterintelligence Protection Service in the field of economic security of the SBU together with the USBU in Vinnytsia Oblast and the Main Investigation Department of the National Police of Ukraine and under the procedural guidance of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Police later reported that the machines were running FIFA 21 to grind accounts for in-game currency in elite teams. No mention about the video cards.

EA Net Revenue from Ultimate Team including FIFA, Madden and NHL:

  • FY 2021: $1.62bn
  • FY 2020: $1.49bn
  • FY 2019: $1.37bn
  • FY 2018: $1.18bn
  • FY 2017: $775m
  • FY 2016: $660m
  • FY 2015: $587m

EA has long been criticised over loot boxes but EA needs to show earnings.