Feds say bad actor plied employee with drinks, food
Was under surveillance by FBI
A new report says that Tesla’s Nevada factory was the target of a serious effort to cripple the company with malware, an event company CEO Elon Musk later confirmed via Twitter that saw Russian hackers show up in person to try and bribe or coerce a Tesla employee to install the software,
The plan was first outlined in a criminal complaint filed earlier this week, reports Ars Technica. Hackers needed information from the employee about network authorisations and procedures. U.S. Federal prosecutors have charged Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, a Russian national, with meeting with an unnamed employee as part of the plot.
The defendant allegedly said that the infection could be transmitted via USB or email attachment and that it would need to run for six to eight hours to fully infect the network.
“The purpose of the conspiracy was to recruit an employee of a company to surreptitiously transmit malware provided by the coconspirators into the company’s computer system, exfiltrate data from the company’s network, and threaten to disclose the data online unless the company paid the coconspirators’ ransom demand,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint.
Included in the plan was an offer of $1 million to an employee, identified as working for “Company A”, who turned it down and reported the plan. Rumours spread that it was a Tesla employee, which was reported yesterday by Teslarati. Musks’ reply of “much appreciated. This was a serious attack,” would confirm that it was, in fact, Tesla who was the potential victim.
Much appreciated. This was a serious attack.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 27, 2020
According to the criminal complaint, Kriuchkov took the employee for dinners and alcohol and had conversations in cars to avoid surveillance as part of the plot.