A Tesla employee launches an alleged ransomware plot – tech2.org

A Tesla employee launches an alleged ransomware plot


Earlier this month, According to a recent criminal complaint, Igor Igorovich Krychkov, a 27-year-old Russian man, met an old colleague, now working at Tesla, in a bar in Reno. He drank till the last call. At some point in the evening, the FBI says, Krichkov took the man’s phone, placed it on top of him and placed both devices at arm’s length – the universal indication that he was only going to say something to his ears. He then invited a Tesla employee to collaborate with a “group” that performs “special projects”. More specifically, he offered an employee of $ 500,000 to install malware on his employer’s network, which would be used to recreate millions of dollars of data.

According to the judicial department, weeks after the Reno meeting, FBI agents arrested Krichkov in Los Angeles, trying to flee the country. His recruitment plan failed, the complaint states, when the employee reported Krychkov’s offer to the company, which in turn alerted the FBI, leading the bureau to survey Kruchkov and not arrest him for long.

Given that Tesla’s “Gigafactic” manufacturing facility is located in Sparks, Nevada, outside Reno, speculation immediately focused on Tesla as a potential target for the attack. On Thursday night, Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed this in a typical offhand style on Twitter. “Much appreciated,” Musk wrote in response to a report by Tesla news site Teslati that Tesla was named as the target of the ransomware strike. “It was a serious attack.” Tesla itself did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite the happy ending – all thanks to a Tesla employee ready to set off a significant perceived bribe – an “insider threat” ransomware attack attempt against such a major target shows how Brezen has become a ransomware crew , Brett Callow, cyber security firm Emsisoft with a threat analyst. “This is what happens when you hand over billions of ransomware groups. If they can’t access a network through their normal methods, they can simply buy or try their own way. Tesla got lucky, “Says Callow. “The result could have been very different.”

According to the FBI, Krichkov first met a Tesla employee in 2016, and made contact with him via WhatsApp in July. In the first two days of August, he fired Emerald Pool employees in Nevada and Lake Tahoe, picking up tabs and falling to appear in photos, court documents say, possibly attempting to avoid leaving a trace of his trip Has been doing. The next day, Krichkov took his Tesla contact to the Reno bar and offered: half a million dollars in cash or bitcoin to install malware on Tesla’s network, using a USB drive or opening a malicious attachment to email . Krichkov allegedly explained to Tesla employees that the group he worked with would then steal data from Tesla and take a ransom, threatening to publicly dump it if the ransom was not given.

Shortly after that first meeting, a Tesla employee alerted his employer, and the FBI began surveying and recording subsequent meetings with Krichkov. Throughout August, Krichkov allegedly attempted to persuade Tesla’s staff to bribe him for $ 1 million, arguing that the malware would be encrypted in such a way that it did not detect the employee. Whoever saw it. In addition, to distract Tesla’s security staff during the ransomware installation, the gang executed a distributed denial of service attack, bombing Tesla’s servers with junk traffic.

In fact, Krichkov reportedly claimed that he used another insider in a different company, not caught even after three and a half years. Prosecutors say Krichkov even went so far as to suggest that he could frame another employee of Tesla’s employee of choice to hack – the one he “wanted to teach a lesson.”

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