Digital Assets: Russian Nabbed In Attempted DDoS Cyberattack on Tesla

August 28, 2020 | Digital Assets, News

The Russian attempted to bribe a Tesla worker with $1 million.

The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced the arrest of Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a Russian citizen, on the charge of conspiring to breach Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) network and to infiltrate it with malware. (Teslarati)

It appears that the Russian attempted to bribe a Tesla worker at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory with $ 1 million after contacting the latter on WhatsApp on July 16. The unnamed employee speaks Russian and had access to Tesla’s computer networks. This fact shows that the bad actors behind Kriuchkov had done their homework on Tesla.

Modus operandi

According to Teslarati, Kriuchkov first made only social moves during the first week of August. These included a trip to Lake Tahoe along with some Tesla colleagues of the employee concerned. Kriuchkov apparently refused to be present in any photograph of the occasion at the lake spot.

Later, the Russian citizen asked for a business meeting with the Tesla employee. He asked the worker to insert malware into the car maker’s computer systems for $ 500,000 in bitcoin or cash. He later improved the offer to $ 1 million.

The malware triggers a distributed denial of service (DDoS), allowing the criminals to distract the Tesla information security personnel. Meanwhile the hackers plan to extract corporate and network data to use as leverage for a ransom payment by Tesla.

Things went horribly wrong, however, for Kriuchkov and his associates. The Tesla employee reported the incident to Tesla which in turn referred the matter to the FBI. He was asked to maintain contact with the cyber attackers as if nothing had changed.

In an August 19 sting operation, Kriuchkov agreed to pay an advance of $ 11,000. The employee wore a wire at this time.

On August 21, the Russian said to the employee that plans were put on hold. He also revealed that he was leaving the area the next day.

The FBI arrested Kriuchkov in Los Angeles on August 22.

Cyberattackers upping their game against corporate organizations

In the Tesla incident, the Russian boasted to the Tesla employee that he and his associates had extracted a ransom of over $ 4 million from a large company. Presumably, the company question was CWT Travel. CWT had paid a ransom of $ 4.5 million to cyber attackers, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Coin Desk reported Thursday that the New Zealand stock exchange had halted trading for three consecutive days due to outages forced upon it due to a DDoS attack from outside the country. The criminals are reportedly asking for payment in bitcoin to cease the attack.

According to Coin Telegraph, US authorities have warned that North Korea’s notorious BeagleBoyz hacking gang is currently pursuing a sophisticated campaign targeting US financial institutions and cryptocurrencies exchanges across the globe.

The authorities warned that the group appears to have resurfaced after restructuring its team earlier this year and had developed new and “irreversible” methods of theft to deploy against crypto exchanges.

In a separate report, Coin Telegraph reported that the US authorities are attempting to forfeit 280 different digital asset accounts used by North Korean bad actors in two hacks of virtual currency exchanges.

“These actors stole millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and ultimately laundered the funds through Chinese over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency traders,” the DoJ said.

Related Story:  2020 A Gravy Train for Crypto Bad Actors; $1.36B Siphoned in Five Months

Image of Tesla Gigafactory, Nevada: Wikimedia                                                   

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