How A Russian Cyber Attack Plot Against Tesla Was Foiled By A Vigilant Employee And The FBI
Let us start with the many facts at hand. Around July 16th, the perpetrator, Egor Igorevich Kruichkov, contacted an employee at Tesla’s Gigafactory via WhatsApp, where they agreed to visit in person. Mr. Kriuchkov then entered the United States with his Russian passport and tourist visa roughly 12 days later. In the days following his entrance to the United States, Kriuchkov purchased a cell phone and rented a vehicle to go to Reno, Nevada, near where the Tesla Gigafactory is located. Then, Mr. Kriuchkov visited with the Tesla employee and his associates several times for dinner and drinks, either in private or public locations. A note of interest here is that Kriuchkov, throughout his visit, wished to remain out of photos and paid for the excursions they went on. This showed he had money and possibly some sort of motive.
1. The coconspirators would provide the employee with malware to surreptitiously transmit into Victim Company A’s computer system.Over the next several days, the employee was left to ponder the decision. From August 7th to August 17th, the employee was repeatedly encouraged with the promise of monetary compensation. On or around the 17th, Kriuchkov called his unknown superior with the Tesla employee to discuss how the “mission” could be accomplished and how long it would take. Over time, more details began to develop, and the mission was beginning to take shape.
2. The coconspirators would engage in a Distributed Denial of Service Attack to divert attention from the malware.
3. The malware would allow the conspirators to extract data from Victim Company A’s network.
4. Once the data was extracted, the conspirators would extort Victim Company A for a substantial payment.
5. Both KRIUCHKOV and the employee would be compensated.
I am not a lawyer; however, those charges are stating that Kriuchkov conspired to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Also, throughout the FBI document, Tesla is never mentioned. We can confirm that Tesla is the company affected, though, because of a Tweet from Elon Musk replying to Teslarati when this story first broke.
Much appreciated. This was a serious attack.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 27, 2020