Last week, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) discovered and broke up what it originally thought was a cryptocurrency farm. It turns out the operation may have been a FIFA bot farm.
According to an investigation from Ukraine newspaper Delo, the 3,800 PlayStation 4 consoles were likely used to obtain and sell FIFA Ultimate Team cards. The consoles reportedly all played the game automatically in order to obtain FIFA Points, the in-game currency.
From there, the FIFA Points or even the accounts themselves would be sold in the black market for real world money.
Authorities didn’t say how much money the operators may have netted from their operation. However, they confirmed the operation leeched as much as $256,648 worth of energy from the surrounding electrical grid. Operators went to decent lengths to disguise their energy leeching — they used special electrical meters to hide their theft.
The operation has since been shut down, with authorities blaming energy distribution company Vinnysiaoblenergo for not noticing the extreme energy use. Authorities also stated the mining farm was located in a warehouse next to the company.
Vinnysiaoblenergo denied any involvement in the operation and disputed that any electricity was stolen.