Russian national accused of attempting to hack and extort Tesla pleaded guilty, avoiding a jury trial and possible long stay in prison, The record reported. Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov will be sentenced to the charge of “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer” (ie Hacking), according to the plea agreement.
The original DoJ complaint reads like a (bad) spy movie. In the summer of 2020, Kriuchkov traveled to the United States at the behest of a Russian cybercrime gang and contacted a Russian-speaking worker from the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. Kriuchkov reportedly offered to pay the employee $ 1 million to deliver malware to the Gigafactory’s computer systems. He and his associates reportedly planned to extract data from the network and threaten to release it if Tesla did not pay a ransom.
The employee immediately informed Tesla of this brilliant plan and the company contacted the FBI. Officers initiated a needle-stick operation and arrested Kriuchkov as he attempted to leave the United States. Kriuchkov reportedly received $ 250,000 for recruiting the employee, according to FBI records.
Kriuchkov initially pleaded not guilty to the charges filed on September 3, 2020. A jury trial was scheduled for September 2021, and if found guilty he could have faced up to five years in prison, three years in prison. on probation and a fine of $ 250,000. With the guilty plea, however, Kriuchkov is now considering between four and ten months with three years of supervised release. He will not receive any fines but will have to pay Tesla $ 14,824.88 in damages. The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the prosecution and the hearing is set for May 10, 2021.