The Russian national who tried to persuade a Tesla employee to instal malware on the company’s computers has pleaded guilty, according to the US Justice Department.
Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to cause intentional computer harm. He faced a potential term of five years in jail, but as a result of his plea deal, he would most likely obtain a lesser sentence.
Kriuchkov is accused of collaborating with others to persuade a Tesla employee to instal malware on the company’s network as part of a ransomware attack. They also intended to launch a DDoS attack to draw the company’s attention away from the malware, which would allow them to steal valuable data.
The Russian arrived in the United States on a tourist visa in July 2020 and immediately contacted the targeted Tesla employee in Nevada.
The employee was originally paid $500,000 for his support, but the amount was later increased to $1 million. Despite this, the employee decided to warn Tesla about the cybercriminals’ plot, and the company alerted the FBI, who set up a sting operation.
Kriuchkov was arrested in August 2020 and pleaded not guilty in September. On May 10, he will be convicted.