Russian scam artist offered a Tesla employee $1 million and an upfront payment of 1 Bitcoin (BTC) to upload the ransomware software.
A Russian national got in touch with a Tesla employee from the manufacturing factory in Nevada and tempted him to install ransomware malware onto Tesla’s computer network.
Instead of taking the bribe, the employee reached out to the FBI. Upon investigation, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a 27-year-old Russian, based on the ransomware attempt. Kriuchkov was arrested in Los Angeles on August 22 and is currently facing up to 5 years in prison for the ransomware plot, if found guilty.
As shared by Forbes, Bitcoin is highly preferred as a payment method by cybercriminals. The digital asset’s rising value on the exchange and its increasing reputation as a hedge among investors. As claimed by the FBI, over the past six years, ransomware attacks by cyber schemers have generated over $140 million worth of Bitcoin.
Conversing about the Bitcoin coercion attempt targeting his company, CEO Elon Musk stated that it was a severe attack after having suffered from a previous Bitcoin Twitter hack that overtook his social media platform and other tech moguls and big-name figures.
The Bitcoin ransomware effort comes at a time when Tesla stock is surging on the market, boasting of the market capitalization of approximately $465 billion after an announced 5-for-1 stock split that quadrupled Elon Musk’s wealth.
Passing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the SpaceX founder now counts among the top 3 wealthiest people globally, as reported in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Bitcoin or Gold as Hedge?
Elon Musk has also been operating on a plan to mine gold from asteroids and launch a mission with his company SpaceX, as revealed by NASA.
In parallel to this, Bitcoin billionaire Tyler Winklevoss has maintained educating investors on the benefits of investing in BTC rather than gold or USD, due to the digital asset’s protective nature against inflation.
Bitcoin, often dubbed “digital gold” by avid investors, has a limited 21 million supply. According to Winklevoss’ predictions, Bitcoin’s value will continue escalating, with the US dollar plummeting and gold’s actual global supply being unknown.
With the cryptocurrency having the highest cap of 21 million coins globally, Winklevoss has therefore touted BTC as the best hedge against inflation.