The Russian New Mining Company is investing 125 million USD into a massive Bitcoin mining operation in Alvdal, Norway. This is a 20 minute drive from Tynset, Norway where Trident Juncture will begin on 5 October 2018; Trident Juncture will be the largest North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military exercise in Norway’s history.
The Russian cryptocurrency mining farm is scheduled to begin construction in August 2018, but eight containers of mining equipment have already been delivered, and high capacity electricity and optical cables have been set up.
By the time Trident Juncture starts in October, the massive Russian mining farm will be operational. Although the Russian New Mining Company claims it will be a Bitcoin mining farm and nothing more, it still means that thousands of powerful Russian computers, in a Russian facility operated by Russians, will be directly next to a huge NATO military exercise.
A director at the Norwegian IT Industry Association, Torgeir Waterhouse, says that there is no way to know for sure what the computers in the Russian mining farm are doing without direct administrator access. In general, cryptocurrency mining equipment has cutting-edge high-performance processors, which can be used for extremely specialized tasks.
Waterhouse speculates it will be possible to conduct a cyber attack on the NATO military exercise with the equipment. Both NATO and Russia are known to be developing cyber warfare technology. The director of cybersecurity at the Norwegian National Security Agency, Hans Christian Pretorius, says he is familiar with the situation but has refrained from commenting. A senior advisor at the Norwegian Police Security Service, Martin Bernsen, also declined comment.
The Russian New Mining company asserts that it is serious about Bitcoin mining and that the farm has nothing to do with the NATO exercise.
Some 35,000 soldiers, 70 warships and 130 aircraft will be deployed from 30 NATO members for the Trident Juncture military exercise. NATO has traditionally viewed the former Soviet Union as a threat, galvanizing after the Korean War in the 1950s against potential invasion by troops in communist countries leading up to the Cold War.
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