Elon Musk confirmed a Russian national tried to bribe a Tesla employee with $1 million in a bungled ransomware attack

Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Elon Musk confirmed on Thursday Tesla was the target of a failed, “serious” ransomware attack.
  • The US Department of Justice on Tuesday charged Russian national Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov with trying to bribe an employee at a Nevada-based company to install malware for him, offering $US1 million in return.
  • The DOJ didn’t name the company in its complaint, but Electrek reported it was Tesla on Thursday.
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday confirmed reports that the company was the target of a botched ransomware attack.

Russian national Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov was accused by the US Department of Justice on Tuesday of offering $US1 million to an employee at a company in Nevada – identified only as company A – to install malware on the company’s systems.

Electrek reported Thursday that the unnamed company was Tesla, which Musk confirmed in a tweet. “This was a serious attack,” Musk tweeted.

Kriuchkov allegedly met with this employee multiple times, taking them for dinner and drinks. The idea was for the malware, installed via a USB or an email attachment, would siphon off company data, which would then be held to ransom for $US4 million.

The employee in question reportedly told Tesla about Kriuchkov’s proposition, and the company contacted the FBI. According to the complaint, the employee co-operated with the FBI, recording conversations with Kriuchkov when agents couldn’t eavesdrop.

The complaint states that Kriuchkov asked the employee whether there was anyone at Tesla they wanted to “teach a lesson” and frame for the attach.

According to Electrek’s report, Kriuchkov was arrested by the FBI as he tried to leave the US from Los Angeles on August 22.