Posted 11 months ago | by Ben Armstrong
Tesla Avoided at least a $4 Million in Losses Thanks to a Whistleblower and the FBI
Bitcoin ransomware is targeting larger companies all the time. Tesla Motors was the latest to suffer a ransomware attempt. These programs attempt to withhold data for ransom or threats of exposing or publishing trade secrets and internal documents that are essential for an organization to operate in exchange for large amounts of bitcoins.
In the past, we have seen attacks ranging from public institutions like hospitals to private companies. The latest attempt was an unsuccessful attack against tech giant Tesla where the devious scheme was stopped dead in its tracks thanks to a loyal Tesla employee and the FBI.
According to a recent criminal complaint by the FBI, a Russian named Pavel Kriuchkov was in Los Angeles – he was allegedly recruiting and bribing Tesla worker to install a malware which aimed leech off data from the company’s network and threaten to disclose the data if $4 Million in bitcoin was not paid.
The Tesla employee would have been compensated up to $1 million USD if the job was done correctly, and a small amount was paid in advance.
It Didn't Work!
The scheme later was foiled as the employee reported the incident to Tesla and the FBI was called. Kriuchkov was later arrested on August 22 following an FBI investigation.
During the investigation, the series of meetings between the Tesla member and Kriuchkov was intercepted through wiretapping.
According to media, a third party was also involved, a hacker that is specialized in encryption. The red flag here is that the individual allegedly is a high ranking member of a federal bank in Russia.
We cannot help but speculate whether this was a side gig that involves a group of high skilled Russian individuals or the more possible case, an act of corporate espionage that was ordered by a foreign state to hinder US technological advances.
Ransomware is Common
Jack Daniel’s fended off a ransomware attack, but the perpetrator was able to get away with many valuable corporate data.
The organisation that was responsible for this attack is Sobinokibi AK REvil. They threatened the company that its data would be slowly leaked onto the internet and had provided screenshot evidence of the file they had stolen.
The exploitation of data vulnerabilities is not always one-sided, at times, it could be the result of a skillful and proficient hacker, but at times, it's the kind of shoddy cybersecurity work that would end up costing a company millions.
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