Tesla Gigafactory target of Russian hacking attempt
Tesla employee turned down $1 million to plant malware, works with FBI to apprehend perpetrator
In usual style, nothing more than a tweet from the third wealthiest man in the world announced a failed hacking attempt on Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory battery plant.
Earlier last week, Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that Tesla's Gigafactory 1 was indeed the target of a failed hacking attempt by a Russian man named Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov. A 27-year-old appeared in federal court in Los Angeles this Monday and has been charged with conspiracy to damage a protected computer.
Kriuchkov faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Kriuchkov was accused of attempting to hire a Tesla employee to plant malware on the company's computer network for $1 million, in the hopes of extracting data and the further extortion of ransom money.
The unnamed employee went straight to the FBI and was recruited as a confidential employee. I subsequently recorded meetings with Kriuchkov, who claimed that he worked for a "group" that specializes in "special projects."
The Malware attack was designed to first appear as an external attack that would attract company security, hiding the second attack, which steals data. After which the "group" would threaten to make the data public unless a ransom was paid out.
After being contacted by the FBI, Kriuchkov asked an acquaintance to purchase an airline ticket for him but was apprehended by the FBI before he was able to leave.
In a statement from the FBI:
"As Nevada's economy diversifies and evolves into a center for technological innovation, our office will continue to prioritize protecting trade secrets and other confidential information belonging to U.S. businesses. Working with our law enforcement partners, we are committed to holding accountable anyone who plots to use malicious cyber tactics to harm American consumers and companies."
"In this matter, the FBI was once again able to intervene before any damage could occur. We will continue to aggressively pursue any person or entity that attempts to inflict damage to American business or enterprise, no matter who or where."