Thursday, 27 August 2020 19:07

Tesla Employee Foregoes $1M Payment, Works With FBI to Thwart Cybersecurity Attack

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati


Sometimes, the events that transpire inside a company could be just as exciting and nail-biting as the most popular thrillers in fiction.

In Tesla’s case, such a scenario recently played out, as a worker in Gigafactory Nevada ended up turning down a $1 million incentive, working closely with the FBI and thwarting a planned cybersecurity attack against the electric car maker. 


On Aug. 25, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a Russian citizen accused of conspiring to breach the network of a U.S. company and introduce malware to compromise said company’s networks. Media reports about the incident have identified the U.S. company to be electric car maker Tesla.


Interestingly enough, a criminal complaint filed by the FBI Las Vegas Field Office suggests the attempted cybersecurity attack is no ordinary hacking attempt---it may very well be part of a well-financed, organized scheme. 


The remarkable story began when a Russian-speaking, non-U.S. citizen working at Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada was contacted by Kriuchkov. The employee, whose identity has not been revealed, has access to the electric car maker’s computer networks.


On July 16, the Russian citizen contacted the Giga Nevada employee through WhatsApp, asking to meet with him in Sparks, NV. As noted in a report from Clearance Jobs, the fact Kriuchkov approached a Russian-speaking, non-U.S. citizen working at Gigafactory Nevada suggests the team behind the cyberattack attempt has done their research well. 


The Tesla employee, some colleagues and Kriuchkov met socially Aug. 1-3, which included a trip to Lake Tahoe. Interestingly enough, Kriuchkov reportedly declined to be present in any photos taken during the trip. At one point when the group was taking a photo during a picturesque sunset, Kriuchkov reportedly remarked he would “just remember the beauty of the sunset and did not need a photograph.”


After the relatively harmless Lake Tahoe trip, the Russian citizen asked the Tesla employee to meet with him for some “business.”

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