Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has confirmed that his company was the target of a failed ransomware attack. The ‘serious’ attack was thwarted in an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ‘This was a serious attack,’ tweeted Musk while reacting to the company’s blog post that talked about the brazen scheme in detail. According to Tesla, the alleged attempt was made by a 27-year-old Russian national Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov. Kriuchkov tried to bribe a fellow Russian speaker who worked at the company to install the malware in the company’s network. The worker has not been named. Kriuchkov first tried to reach out to the employee in July.
A criminal complained was filed in the United States District Court in Nevada which stated that the man allegedly flew to the US with a Russian passport on a tourist visa. He tried to entice the Tesla employee to betray the company by offering him USD 1 million to plant malware in Tesla’s network. The software was a kind of ransomware that is used to encrypt files and hold them until a ransom is received. The two had first met during a road trip to Lake Tahoe in 2016. Kriuchkov shared the plan with the employee on August 3 at a Reno area bar.
But the Tesla worker informed the company about all the development and the company later contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In subsequent meetings, Kriuchkov explained the plan to infect the company’s computer. The plan was to steal valuable data from Tesla before planting the ransomware in the systems. According to the complainant, Kriuchkov told the Tesla worker that his organization had executed it on other companies on several occasions. He disclosed that one of the victims had supposedly surrendered a USD 4 million ransom payment. He also revealed that the sophisticated encryption of his company would have covered Tesla employee’s participation and one of the hackers is a senior employee of the government bank in Russia.