Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged after the arrest of Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov in August that the company had been the target of what Musk called a serious effort to collect company secrets.
A Russian man was sentenced Monday to life imprisonment and will be deported from the United States after pleading guilty to attempting to pay a $ 500,000 Tesla employee to install malware at Nevada’s electric battery plant. the company to try to steal company secrets. for rescue.
Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, who appeared by videoconference from prison, apologized after U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno acknowledged that the hacking attempt was unsuccessful and the company’s network she was not compromised.
“I am just sorry for my decision. I’m sorry, “said Kriuchkov, 27, through a Russian-language court interpreter.
Chris Frey, his court-appointed lawyer, said Kriuchkov speaks English fluently, but the judge provided the interpreter anyway.
Kriuchkov said the nine months he has been in U.S. custody made him reflect on the pain he caused his family in Russia and the damage done to his reputation. Several family members emailed the judge for clemency.
“I understand it was a bad decision,” said Kriuchkov, who could have received up to five years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.
The judge, who agreed not to use the company name in court, accompanied a lawsuit agreement between prosecutors and Kriuchkov.
He was sentenced to ten months in prison for his guilty plea in March for conspiring to cause intentional damage to a protected computer; pay about $ 14,825 in restitution for the time of the company investigating the intrusion attempt and handing the case over to the FBI and; three years of federal supervision if he remains in the United States or returns from abroad. He will be detained until he leaves the country.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged after Kruichkov’s arrest in August in Los Angeles that the company had been the target of what Musk called a serious effort to collect company secrets. Federal authorities had said Kriuchkov was heading to an airport to fly out of the country.
Tesla has a large factory near Reno that manufactures batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage units. Company officials did not immediately respond Monday to messages asking for comments.
The judge estimated the $ 500,000 Kriuchkov offered to the unidentified employee. It did not address previous reports that the bribe amounted to $ 1 million.
Federal authorities credited the employee with informing Kriuchkov of the openings to company officials.
The hack was designed as a distributed denial of service attack, which used junk data to flood Tesla’s computer system, while a second intrusion would allow co-conspirators to extract data from the company’s network and demand ransom with the company. threatens to make the information public. .
Other suspected conspirators are identified in court documents by nicknames and reference is made to at least one other failed effort to target another unidentified company.
Kriuchkov told a judge in September that he knew the Russian government knew about his case, but prosecutors and the FBI never alleged links to the Kremlin.
“There is no doubt that the crime is serious,” Du said, citing concerns about “this type of cyber-crime” in the United States and other countries. “Fortunately, the scheme was not successful.”