A suspected Russian hacker has been accused of offering a $1 million bribe to a Tesla employee in exchange for him introducing malware into the American manufacturer’s Gigafactory in Nevada.
According to documents published by the United States Department of Justice, the alleged hacker, identified as Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, tried to convince the Tesla employee to install the malware on Tesla’s computer system to be able to launch a distributed denial of service (DDOS) ransomware attack.
Details of the case were revealed in documents released by the Justice Department after Kruichkov’s arrest. Although the official records do not name Tesla, they refer to “Victim Company A,” Elon Musk himself confirmed a few hours ago on Twitter that they were the target.
According to the Justice Department version, Kruichkov allegedly traveled to Sparks, Nevada, where the Tesla Gigafactory is located. There he rented a hotel room where he met the Tesla employee and laid out the deal’s terms referred to as a “special project.”
The malware would launch a DDoS attack on Tesla’s systems to distract its security team and then steal vital information. Information for which Kruichkov and his partners could demand a substantial ransom since they offered to pay no less than a million dollars in cash and bitcoins to the Tesla employee.
This attack was thwarted by the collaboration of the Tesla employee with the FBI, who even recorded part of the conversations between him and the Russian hacker who now faces charges of conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer system, which can lead to penalties of up to five years in jail and a hefty fine.
Although the attempted attack on Tesla may seem like a spy movie, the United States security agency, NSA, has warned of the real danger of this type of physical action taken into account by companies.