Tesla’s Elon Musk Confirms a Russian Bitcoin Ransomware Attack, reports to FBI

The FBI have arrested Kriuchkov for a planned Bitcoin ransomware attack against electric car maker Tesla, confirms Elon Musk.

By · Sep 2, 2020 . 6min read

Tesla Bitcoin Ransomware attack

Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla impeded a “serious” cyber attack at its Gigafactory in Nevada after a Russian national allegedly endeavoured to bribe an employee to install ransomware’s network. The US Justice Department issued a complaint earlier this week about a ventured malware attack against an unnamed company in Sparks, Nevada. The complaint didn’t mention Tesla specifically. However, Elon Musk confirmed that his company was the target via Twitter, adding it was a “serious attack.” 

Tesla Employee Bribed to Insert Malicious Software

As per the complaint, the FBI accused a Russian national, 27-year-old Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, in an asserted trick that involved bribing a Tesla employee to inject malicious software into its computer network, extract data from the network, and extract ransom money from the company. The offering made to an employee at a Tesla factory in Nevada included $1 million and an upfront payment of 1 bitcoin to install ransomware software on Tesla’s computer network. The employee notified Tesla, who then told the FBI. Prosecutors stated that the ransomware used an increasingly popular tactic. It not only encrypts a victim’s files, however, also exfiltrates the information to the attacker’s servers. 

“After the malware was introduced, Kriuchkov and his co-conspirators would extract data from the network and then threaten to make the information public, unless the company paid their ransom demand,” the complaint reads. The FBI began a sting operation, with the employee using a wire and sharing text communications with Kriuchkov. They negotiated the terms of the malware attack. The advanced interaction helped the FBI to receive data about previous attacks from this group. Kriuchkov was leaving the US from Los Angeles on 22 August when the FBI arrested him.

Bitcoin Ransomware Attacks on Surge

In recent months, several big-name companies have fallen into the trap of ransomware attacks. The maze ransomware attack caused to the Canon services suffered an outage. It affected internal applications, email servers, Microsoft Teams, and the USA website. It offered several services offline and compromised 10TB of data. However, WastedLocker, a ransomware strain deployed by EvilCorp, attacked Garmin. Earlier, travel giant CWT was a victim of a ransomware attack by Bitcoin hackers. The company has agreed to pay $4.5 million ransom in exchange for their data. The hackers initially demanded $10 million in exchange for the data. Additionally, several municipalities in Japan in the Kanto region received emails threatening “Bomb the city hall,” demanding a crypto ransom (BTC).

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