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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 20, @03:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the oh-wow-that-was-honest-work dept.

Ukraine warehouse packed with thousands of PS4s was actually a FIFA Ultimate Team bot farm:

A giant cryptocurrency farm in Ukraine that contained thousands of PlayStation 4 consoles was actually a FIFA bot farm.

Last week the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced it had shut down what was reported as a cryptocurrency mining farm that contained an incredible 3800 game consoles. Images showed racks of PS4 Slims (some claimed the photos showed PS4 Pros) - either way not the ideal hardware for a cryptocurrency farm.

It turns out the PS4s were being used to grind FIFA Ultimate Team.

According to an investigation by Ukraine business newspaper Delo, sparked by scepticism of the official claim about the farm being primarily about mining cryptocurrency, as well as the fact game discs can be seen protruding from PS4s in one of the pictures, what we're looking at in the photos is a bot farm that got stuck into the Ultimate Team grind, with the goal of selling accounts loaded up with in-game currency on the black market.

Delo said the Security Service of Ukraine has so far refused to comment on the revelation, citing the secrecy of the investigation. But the suggestion is these PS4 Slims, all controlled by PCs running bots, farmed Ultimate Team for profit.

Previously: Ukrainian Police Bust Cryptocurrency Mining Operation, Seize 3,800 PlayStation 4 Consoles.


Original Submission

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Ukrainian Police Bust Cryptocurrency Mining Operation, Seize 3,800 PlayStation 4 Consoles 22 comments

Busted Cryptominers Might Have Mined on 3,800 PS4 Consoles

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) on Thursday reported that Ukrainian law enforcement has pulled the plug on a clandestine cryptocurrency mining farm in the city of Vinnytsia. The perpetrators had set up camp in an old warehouse and stealthily tapped into the city's power grid to mine cryptocurrency. Most interestingly, the miners were caught with a shocking number of Playstation 4's. And pretty much everything else, too.

The Ukrainian authorities reportedly seized up to 5,000 pieces of hardware, including over 500 graphics cards, 50 processors and 3,800 PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles, all of which are in short supply in the U.S. and beyond, as well as other tidbits.

[...] The photographs showed an endless list of racks with PS4s that are apparently connected to the internet. While we've seen pictures of alleged PS4 mining setups before, there has never been any concrete evidence that you can actually mine cryptocurrency on a gaming console. Although, after seeing a DIY project with a Game Boy mining Bitcoin, anything is possible. And the fact that the Ukrainian miners had so many PS4s does suggest that they may have found a way to mine with them.

[...] Hypothetically, the PS4 Pro could potentially come close to a Radeon RX 580 in Ethereum mining.

Also at Wccftech.

See also: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Selling For 270 USD In Second Hand Markets In China Thanks To Crypto Crackdown

Previously: Cryptocurrency Miners Are Building Their Own Electricity Infrastructure
Massive bitcoin mine discovered in UK after police raid suspected cannabis farm
Clampdown on Crypto Mining Cuts China's GPU Prices Nearly 45 Percent


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @03:46AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @03:46AM (#1158147)

    You guys ok there in Ukraine? Is it a lingering after-affect of chernobil?

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday July 20, @04:32AM (1 child)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 20, @04:32AM (#1158160) Journal

      Niche market. Not as speculative as cryptocurrency, just the service of grinding through the game in an automated way and selling the result of the grind on real-world money. Work is done for the money, unlike just speculating the cryptocurrency fad.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @05:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @05:30AM (#1158172)

        Yeah, supply and demand. Lots of multi-player games have these kinda of setup even back to decades ago with diablo on battlenet. I remember my bro selling an account for a grand after grinding manually for a few months.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @06:02AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @06:02AM (#1158175)

      The patriotic Ukrainians need to send their women oversea to safe(r) countries - for safe keeping.

      After all, the Ukrainian women are global human treasure, like UNICEF said.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @11:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @11:23AM (#1158221)

        >> After all, the Ukrainian women are global human treasure, like UNICEF said.

        So if Britney was Ukranian she'd get more respect? #FreeBritney

    • (Score: 2) by epitaxial on Tuesday July 20, @12:23PM

      by epitaxial (3165) on Tuesday July 20, @12:23PM (#1158230)

      No worse than the leaded gasoline that the auto manufacturers paid scientists to claim was safe.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @03:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @03:53AM (#1158149)

    Ah, right, so that bit about musky incel DEVIL BITCOIN was just propaganda to get us to associate EVIL with DEMONIC BITCOIN, and if you join the BITCOIN MADNESS, you're going to PMITA prison, but also a reminder that musky incels deserve to be stuffed into lockers (and/or raped) and the army of the bourgeoisie are happy to perform these socially necessary functions.

    Though my inner libertarian wonders if my tax dollars should be funding video game dispute resolution, as long as incels of every gender are being identified, shoved into lockers, and raped, I'm happy.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Tuesday July 20, @06:37AM (10 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday July 20, @06:37AM (#1158178)

    You see, when I was young and we played computer games, we did so because it was fun. We played the game, we had some fun, that's it.

    Today it seems playing games is some sort of secondary job. It sure as hell is no fun if there is actually a market for someone else playing it for you and you pay him for that. Just ponder this: You pay for the game, then you pay someone else to play it, so you can eventually play it the way it is supposed to be played...

    Could it be that the game's maker tries to cover up that there is no meaningful content by making you first run a treadmill for a couple hundred hours?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by zocalo on Tuesday July 20, @07:31AM (3 children)

      by zocalo (302) on Tuesday July 20, @07:31AM (#1158187)
      +1 - it's become all about the grind and the micropayments to sidestep it. Sure, you *could* play the game, level up, get more proficient, play a bit more, level up again, etc., etc., but it seems like the studios have realised that they can make more money out of the "must have it now" Amazon Prime generations by making that process less about the fun and satisfaction of achievement and more about being, well, grind. They then provide a way of shortcutting some of that grind for a fee (or a lot of it, for a proportionally larger fee), or the grey market has you covered via bot farms such as the one in the story. The whole situation is not helped by the fact that every gaming community of note attracts a significant number of jerks so if you are not sufficiently levelled up/have a stockpile of gamebucks then you are probably going to suffer at the hands of those who do.

      This is why I essentially stopped buying games. Maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but with the increasingly rare exception I find them to be generally a combination of no fun, a moneypit/cashgrab, poorly balanced, and bug-ridden. Fortunately, the OSS community seems to churn out a near endless stream of games that *do* maintain the ethos of what you need, although they often lack the scale of the AAA titles of the day so won't entertain you for quite so long, but hey, "near endless stream". Then there's GOG, of course; there are plenty of classic games from yesteryear that I didn't have time to play when they first came out that are now getting remastered - there's still plenty of fun to be had if you prefer a more "classic gaming" vibe, but it's just not from the big studios.
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @11:39AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @11:39AM (#1158224)

        That game can suck you up for weeks on a single playthrough. Best part is, there is no real endgame, although there are lots of 'endgame challenges' you can go attempt, so you can more or less write your own story.

        Minetest is similarly open world with lots of customization (both use lua to allow scripting of expansions, with c or c++ for key performance critical code.)

        Best part about both of these games? They can run down to as little as a pentium 2-3 with 1 gig of ram if you're careful, and basically any computer after 2003 can run them smoothly.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @01:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, @01:18AM (#1158545)

          The description says cataclysm is a turn-based RPG. Can you play it one person?

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @02:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @02:35PM (#1158263)

        The ethos you're looking for is a game where the PLAYER acquires skill, rather than the CHARACTER.

        Grinding is having your character acquire things while you, the player, achieve nothing.

        A good game involves YOU, the PLAYER, getting better and better.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday July 20, @10:32AM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday July 20, @10:32AM (#1158210)

      The micropayment to level up basically killed my interest in long term play games. Levels are fine, long term building for a few hours is ok but something you invest weeks or months in? That's not entertainment, that's work.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday July 20, @01:29PM (2 children)

        by looorg (578) on Tuesday July 20, @01:29PM (#1158242)

        Plus you can't shake the sneaking suspicion that they are making the leveling process worse so you sort of "have to" buy the leveling boost just to at least make the process bearable.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday July 20, @01:48PM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday July 20, @01:48PM (#1158246)

          Well, games are for fun (are you listening Sony? Downloading updates on my PS3 is not fun) - and if it turns in to an unpleasant grind, why play?

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
          • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday July 20, @05:16PM

            by looorg (578) on Tuesday July 20, @05:16PM (#1158327)

            Once upon a time that was probably the case but now it seems more and more like games are becoming like little chores or a second (unpaid) job/internship.

            Why play indeed. I find myself playing less and less and it's not that I couldn't devote the time if I wanted to. But it just doesn't feel very fun anymore. There are clearly more and more games but they are not really better games, there is just more of everything (except fun).

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by LabRat on Tuesday July 20, @06:22PM

      by LabRat (14896) on Tuesday July 20, @06:22PM (#1158360)

      This particular game is run by EA. In FIFA Ultimate Team multiplayer mode, FIFA players are awarded via loot boxes (the best ones have terrible odds), which can be obtained via FUT coins obtained from grinding (what the farm was generating for sale) OR by paying for them using virtual currency bought from EA. You can't directly buy FIFA players in either case. Because of this, the economy is so broken that it has a black market.

      Loot boxes are gambling. This game mode is a microtransaction hellscape. Big AAA corporation-made games are often like this these days, unfortunately; the assholes want to recoup investment by any means necessary instead of making a fun game.

      Indie stuff is often cheaper and more fun.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @08:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @08:21PM (#1158410)

      It is even worse than this.

      This behaviour is seen as 'successful' so the "monkey see, monkey do" types all include it in their games because 'that is what the successful games do'.

      But this includes games that don't even have microtransactions or pay to win/level scams.

      e.g.
      The 1 million survival clones that introduce arbitrary delays in picking things up, searching or harvesting. There is no reason for that other than to slow the player down and makes the game more tedious and job-like.
      They even do it in single player games.

      Insanity

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday July 20, @10:44AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 20, @10:44AM (#1158212) Journal

    According to an investigation by Ukraine business newspaper Delo, sparked by scepticism of the official claim about the farm being primarily about mining cryptocurrency, as well as the fact game discs can be seen protruding from PS4s in one of the pictures, what we're looking at in the photos is a bot farm that got stuck into the Ultimate Team grind, with the goal of selling accounts loaded up with in-game currency on the black market.

    Or a cryptocurrency mining system that was occasionally used for other purposes, such as bot farming for games. Are we really to suppose that the system was created for the sole purpose of grinding characters in PS4 games? Especially the substantial part that wasn't PS4s?

    The takeaway message here should be that cryptocurrency mining is not the only profitable use for stolen electricity and that game grinding/farming may help explain why PS4s made up such a large part of the system. Finally, the investigation by Delo may be part of a legal defense strategy to reduce jail time for the crimes committed - "We were just playing games with that stolen power, your honor."

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