Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Elon Musk Confirms Russian Hackers Attempted to Recruit Tesla Employee

The failed attempt by Russian hackers to recruit an employee to install malware onto an enterprise network was targeting electric car maker Tesla, a tweet from Elon Musk confirms.

The failed attempt by Russian hackers to recruit an employee to install malware onto an enterprise network was targeting electric car maker Tesla, a tweet from Elon Musk confirms.

The scheme was publicly detailed earlier this week, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, of Russia, who offered $1 million to an employee of an unnamed U.S. company in Nevada in exchange for installing malware onto the organization’s systems.

The targeted company, Teslarati revealed on Thursday, was Tesla. Replying to a Teslarati tweet, Elon Musk has confirmed the attack.

Elon Musk confirms Russian hackers targeted Tesla

According to the criminal complaint the DoJ made public earlier this week, Tesla’s employee was approached by Kriuchkov in July, and the two met socially in early August, after Kriuchkov arrived in Nevada on a tourist visa.

The employee, Teslarati says, is a Russian-speaking, non-US citizen working at Tesla-owned lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle subassembly factory Giga Nevada, also referred to as Gigafactory 1.

A few days after meeting the employee, Kriuchkov revealed his true intentions: he asked the employee to install malware onto Tesla’s network, offering between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for that. The malware would provide Kriuchkov and co-conspirators with the ability to steal information from Tesla.

The hackers were planning on exfiltrating information from Tesla’s network during a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that was supposed to draw the attention of security teams within the company.

The employee, however, warned Tesla and the company contacted the FBI. Details of the planned attack were revealed in several more meetings, which were surveilled by the FBI. Kriuchkov was arrested on August 22.

Related: Russian Arrested for Recruiting Employee of U.S. Company to Plant Malware

Related: U.S. Indicts Two Chinese Nationals for Hacking Hundreds of Organizations

Related: Developer of DDoS Botnets Based on Mirai Code Sentenced to Prison

Related: Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for DDoS Attacks

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.


The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Data Breaches

GoTo said an unidentified threat actor stole encrypted backups and an encryption key for a portion of that data during a 2022 breach.

Management & Strategy

Industry professionals comment on the recent disruption of the Hive ransomware operation and its hacking by law enforcement.


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.


A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...


US government reminds the public that a reward of up to $10 million is offered for information on cybercriminals, including members of the Hive...