FBI Arrests Russian ‘Tourist’ for Offering $1 million to US Employee to Plant Malware on Company Network

Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, a 27-year-old Russian national, was arrested by FBI after conspiring to bribe a US company employee to manually install malware on the network of an unnamed Nevada-based company.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) court documents, Kriuchkov entered the United States on a tourist visa around July 28, and used his Whatsapp to communicate with the employee of the targeted company to receive critical information about the internal infrastructure of the company.

“The purpose of the conspiracy was to recruit an employee of a company to surreptitiously transmit malware provided by the coconspirators into the company’s computer system, exfiltrate data from the company’s network, and threaten to disclose the data online unless the company paid the coconspirators’ ransom demand,” the court document reads.

Kriuchkov and his conspirators often communicated with an employee of the targeted company to plant malware on the network system, promising to pay $1 million in Bitcoin if successful. “He contacted and met with the employee numerous times to discuss the conspiracy,” the DOJ said. “In furtherance of the conspiracy, Kriuchkov provided the employee with a burner phone, and instructed him to leave the burner phone in airplane mode until after the money was transferred.”

The accused also said that they would launch a DDoS attack on the company network, to deflect attention from the malware and allow the exfiltration of sensitive data.

“KRIUCHKOV described the “special projects” as introducing malware into the computer network of Victim Company A,” the DOJ said. “He explained the malware attacks the systems in two ways. Firstly, the malware appears to be an external DDoS attack. This attack occupies the company’s computer security staff and conceals the second attack. The second attack exfiltrates data from the computer network and into the possession of the “group.” The “group” later contacts the company and threatens to make the data public if the company does not pay a large ransom.”

Federal agents detained Kriuchkov in Los Angelas on August 22. The plaintiff will stand trial for one count of conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer intentionally.

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