A young Russian citizen and his colleagues approached a major ransomware attack on Tesla, unaware that their target had noticed them and had already delivered them.
Last week, the United States Federal Office (FBI) Department of Investigation uncovered a criminal complaint against a conspirator in a Foiled ransomware conspiracy against the electric car manufacturer Tesla.
On August 22, the bureau arrested the 27-year-old Russian citizen Pavel Kryuchkov in Los Angeles, who reportedly spent much of his month in the United States. in the middle of a “special project”.
This “special project” had a lucrative incentive: a bribe of $ 500,000, which was later increased to $ 1 million. A small advance had to be paid into the employee’s Bitcoin wallet (BTC). Installed with a Tor browser to avoid detection.
In exchange for the bribe, The employee was asked to help install a malware attack on Tesla, a two-step act with a distributed denial-of-service attack followed by exfiltration of confidential company data.
The plan was to demand a ransom from Tesla under the threat of making the information public.. The Kryuchkov conspirators had their eye on a $ 4 million ransom.
The problem was that Shortly after Kryuchkov’s first meeting with the employee (who remains anonymous), he had already alerted Tesla, who in turn alerted the FBI.
A series of meetings in August between Kryuchkov and the employee were physically monitored and recorded by FBI agents. They gathered information about the operation and other previous exploits while preparing for the cyber attack.
One of the conspirators, according to Kryuchkov, was communicating with the employee A computer hacker specializing in encryptionwho allegedly works as a senior employee of a government bank in Russia.
Kryuchkov himself was confused about the technical details of the planned attack.and he apparently received $ 250,000 for his recruiting efforts.
In an early meeting Kryuchkov, the clerk, and two of his friends went on a trip to Lake Tahoe, California. Kryuchkov insisted on paying the bill for the group’s expenses, but avoided posing in group photosand insisted that he could remember the beauty of the sunset with no memory.
August 21st Kriuchov informed the employee that the attack would be delayed and leave Nevada the next day.. After his arrest in Los Angeles on August 22nd, he is currently in custody pending trial.
While Tesla is not specifically mentioned in the FBI’s criminal complaint, Tesla’s news site Teslarati has confirmed that the company was the target. The managing director Elon Musk confirmed the plan in a tweet:
Very appreciated. This was a severe attack.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 27, 2020