Elon Musk, CEO of Electric car maker Tesla, Inc., confirmed reports that concluded Tesla as the un-named U.S. company in an announcement made by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) about a thwarted cyberattack.
Musk tweeted, “this was a serious attack”. The tweet was in reply to an article on Tesla’s news website Teslarati that confirmed the company was the target.
According to the DoJ, a group led by Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a 27-year old Russian citizen, is accused of conspiring to breach the computer network of an a unidentified U.S. company and introduce a malware that will enable them to exfiltrate data from the company’s network. They would then threaten to disclose the data online unless the company paid the conspirators their ransom demand.
Kriuchkov contacted a Russian-speaking employee at “Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada” and offered him an incentive of $1 million in Bitcoin to install the malware on the computer network of Tesla, according to Teslarati. Kriuchkov used his WhatsApp account to make the first contact.
However, the employee worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to thwart the planned ransomware attack. The FBI arrested Kriuchkov on August 22 in Los Angeles while he was on the run to flee the U.S. He is currently being detained pending trial.
Kriuchkov has been charged on one count of “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.” The complaint was filed by the FBI in the U.S. District Court in the District of Nevada.
The Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada is a lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle subassembly factory near Reno, Nevada. The facility is owned and operated by Tesla to supply the battery packs for its electric vehicles and stationary storage systems.
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