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Russian Man Pleads Guilty in Thwarted Tesla Hack

Egor Kriuchkov will be sentenced in May on conspiracy charge

A Russian national with ties to a failed attack against carmaker Tesla pleaded guilty in federal court this week.

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Federal officials say Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov tried to recruit an employee at Tesla's Reno, Nev., facility to transmit malware into the company's computer network. 

"Once the malware was installed, Kriuchkov and his co-conspirators would use it to exfiltrate data from the company's computer network and then extort the company by threatening to disclose the data," according to a statement from Department of Justice officials.

The company is identified only as "a Nevada company" in the statement, but in earllier reports, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed his company was the target. Kriuchkov traveled from Russia to California and then to Nevada to persuade the employee to participate in this hacking scheme, and offered to pay the employee with Bitcoin. After meeting with Kriuchkov, the employee reported it to the company, which contacted the FBI. 

Kriuchkov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer and is scheduled to be sentenced May 10.

Read the full statement on the plea here.

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