Tesla Malware Plotter Pleads Not Guilty to Conspiracy Charges

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In August, a Tesla employee thwarted a Russian hacker’s attempts to install malware onto Tesla’s internal operating system. The hacker attempted to recruit the employee, only to be discreetly turned in to the FBI by Tesla.

Now, as reported by CTV News, a 26-year-old Russian cyber-attacker, Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, plead “not guilty” to courts on Thursday for the charge of conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the court, Kriuchkov was in the US with a Russian passport and a tourist visa. Nicholas Trutanich, a US attorney in Nevada told reporters that a deportation was also possible following the prison term.

After being met with repeatedly, the Tesla employee who turned Kriuchkov in spent more than five weeks meeting up with him and pretending to help execute the Russian cyber-attacker’s plan. When it came time to do Kriuchkov’s bidding and install malware onto Tesla’s OS, the employee told Tesla what had been happening, who then reported it to the FBI.

Because of the Tesla employee’s ongoing relationship with Kriuchkov, the FBI was able to outfit him with a microphone, which would ultimately catch Kriuchkov discussing his plans with the employee.

The trial is set to start December 1, 2020, though it’s likely to be postponed. In spite of this and his plead for innocence, Kriuchkov also told courts that he wants to “Go through the whole [court] process as fast as possible.”

Not sure what he thinks will be on the other side, but it’s unlikely to play out well for him.

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