A man was offered 1 million US dollars worth of Bitcoin to attack a company network by planting malware on to the network from within. The recruiter is a Russian nationalist named Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, who apparently had a vendetta against a company based in Nevada.
Kriuchkov reportedly tried to bribe an employee at the said company to install malicious software on to a company executive’s computer. Unfortunately for him, the employee he tried to recruit ratted him out to the authorities.
The court documentation released on Wednesday stated that the US justice department charged Egor Kriuchkov with “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.” The suspect traveled all the way from Russia to the United States to do the scheme. The company employee he tried to hire, under the alias CHS1, was told by Egor that the Russian national was part of a gang.
The FBI followed Kriuchkov for almost the entire month of August, tapping on his phone, listening in on his calls and was able to gather sufficient evidence to convict him. He was arrested in Los Angeles last Sunday.
A timeline of Kriuchkov’s communication with CHS1 was laid out in the complaint document.
Kriuchkov reached out to CHS1 and set up a meeting through Whatsapp sometime in the middle of July. They became acquainted through someone that they both knew. He arrived in the United States a little less than two weeks. For the majority of August, Egor Kriuchkov and CHS1 met up a lot of times for dinner and other recreational activities.
The plan was to plant the malware into the company’s network, gain access to their data, and threaten to sell the information to darknet markets unless the company pays a ransom. It was not given in detail as to how the ransom was supposed to be paid, but usually in transactions such as those, payments are made in the form of Bitcoin.
A DDoS attack (distributed denial of service) would be launched in the company’s servers to create a diversion from the data theft that would have occurred.
Kriuchkov guaranteed that an initial deposit of about 1 Bitcoin would be made to the digital wallet that he helped the employee set up, ensuring that it would not be traced. On August 3, the entire plan was laid out and the payment was raised from half a million dollars worth of BTC to 1 million.
On the 21st, Kriuchkov told CHS1 to put off the plan indefinitely because his team in Russia was held up with a different project. He was arrested just before fleeing American soil. If found guilty, the Russian national will likely face a maximum of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.