Russian Man Faces 10 Months in Prison for Tesla Extortion Attempt

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Photo: Washoe County Sheriff’s Dept. via Associated Press

Last August, a Russian hacker attempted to offer $1 million in Bitcoin to a Tesla employee as part of a plot to spread ransomware across the company’s Sparks, Nevada factory. The employee turned the hacker in, and a federal lawsuit was opened later that month.

Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov pleaded guilty in the US to conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer last week, and could now spend up to ten months in prison, according to a report Friday by the Associated Press (via Yahoo Finance).

The initial ransomware attack was to be hidden as a distributed denial of service attack on the Nevada factory’s computer systems, which would overrun the servers using junk traffic, then extort Tesla for a ransom payment, according to the report.

While the initial lawsuit identified the company as “Company A,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk later confirmed the company’s Nevada factory had been the victim of an attempted cyberattack. The scheme was later revealed to be part of a larger attempt to extort US corporations.

Earlier this month, Tesla was part of a handful of companies whose security cameras were breached by hackers, though it later said that the hackers had only accessed footage from one of its suppliers, rather than its showrooms or factories.

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