U.S. department of justice charges two foreign hackers

March 21, 2021

Tesla Ransomware Hacker Pleads Guilty; Swiss Hacktivist Charged for Fraud

According to several recent articles published by the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and the cyber news website, The Hacker News, two foreign cyber attackers, a Swiss hacktivist and a Russian hacker, were recently charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, in two separate cases of cyberattacks.

The Swiss hacktivist, who was charged with fraud, was accused together with “The Hacktivist Collective” group of hacking dozens of government agencies and companies since 2019, stealing their proprietary data, records, and intellectual property, copying it, and posting it online.

As part of the breaches by the group, was the breach of cloud-based surveillance firm Verkada, reportedly with the goal of exposing the degree of surveillance placed on individuals for the purpose of securing companies.

The Russian national pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer, following an attempt to bribe a Russian speaking employee of  Tesla by offering him $ 1 million in exchange for planting ransomware in one of the company’s plants. The scheme, referred to by Elon Musk in August 2020 as a “serious attack”, fell apart after the employee informed Tesla of the scheme and the latter contacted the FBI.

According to the U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada, Christopher Chiou, this case emphasizes the importance the government sees in the protection of trade secrets and other confidential information that belongs to American companies, especially in the state of Nevada, which is characterized by technological innovation.

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