A Russian national who tried to hack Tesla in a botched multimillion-dollar ransom attempt has pleaded guilty

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov pleaded guilty to attempting to hack Tesla as part of a cybercrime gang.
  • Kriuchkov traveled from Russia to Nevada to ask a Tesla employee to plant malware in Tesla’s system.
  • The gang planned to extract data and then make the company pay millions of dollars to get it back.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Russian national who tried to hack Tesla last August in a failed ransomware attack has pleaded guilty and could spend up to ten months behind bars, The Record first reported.

In a plea agreement filed Wednesday, Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov agreed to plead guilty for “conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer.”

In August, the US Department of Justice accused Kriuchkov of working with a Russian cybercrime gang and offering $1 million to an employee at a company in Nevada – identified only as company A – to install malware on the company’s systems. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed his carmaker was the target, Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton reported.

According to his plea agreement, Kriuchkov traveled to the US in late July, and met with an unnamed Tesla employee from Tesla’s Reno, Nevada gigafactory multiple times throughout August. The DOJ said Kriuchkov took the employee out for drinks multiple times. He also provided him with a phone and instructed him to delete their communications, it said.

Read more: The true disrupter in the auto industry isn’t Tesla – it’s Fisker

In the plea agreement, Kriuchkov said the gang planned to provide the employee with malware to plant in Tesla’s system. The gang would launch a distributed denial of service attack against Tesla to divert the company while the gang extracted data.

The gang would then extort Tesla for a “substantial payment.” Insider reported in August that the ransom would have been around $4 million.

Kriuchkov said in his plea agreement that the employee would have been paid for their participation and was offered an advance payment in Bitcoin. The DOJ said that Kriuchkov offered the employee $1 million for his role in the ransom.

FBI recordings show that Kriuchkov himself would have been paid $250,000 for recruiting the employee, The Record reported.

Tesla reportedly contacted the FBI after the employee told Tesla about Kriuchkov’s proposition. The DOJ said that the employee co-operated with the FBI, recording conversations with Kriuchkov when agents couldn’t eavesdrop.

The plea agreement says that a prison sentence of between four and ten months, followed by up to three years of supervised release, would be “appropriate.” After this, Kriuchkov would be reported to Russia. He would also have to pay restitution to Tesla, but wouldn’t have to pay fees, per the agreement. The district court has scheduled Kriuchkov’s sentencing hearing for May 10, The Record reported.

Because of his plea, a jury trial for July has been canceled. If the jury had found him guilty, he could have spent up to five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000, per the plea agreement.

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The FDA urged people to avoid Real Water-branded alkaline water after 5 Nevada children who drank it were hospitalized with liver failure

Real Water
The FDA has recommended that people don’t drink Real Water while it investigates cases of hepatitis.

  • Five children in Nevada were hospitalized in Nevada with liver failure after drinking Real Water.
  • Authorities are now urging Americans to avoid the brand while they investigate.
  • One family has also sued the beverage brand after three members of its household fell ill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Health authorities are urging Americans to avoid Real Water-branded alkaline water after five children in Nevada were hospitalized with liver failure after drinking it.

One family in the state has also sued the beverage brand.

Authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday they had launched an investigation, but could not yet confirm that the water caused the illnesses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told consumers, restaurants, and retailers not to drink, cook with, sell, or serve the product until more information is known about the cause of the illnesses.

In November 2020, five infants and children from across four households in Clark County, Nevada were hospitalized with acute non-viral hepatitis, which caused acute liver failure, the authorities said. All have since recovered.

Other adults and children from two of the households experienced less severe symptoms, including fever, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue, the authorities said.

Acute non-viral hepatitis can be caused by exposure to toxins, autoimmune disease, or drinking too much alcohol.

Real Water says that its water is pH 9.0 and is “infused with negative ions.” It claims that this means the water “can help your body to restore balance and reach your full potential.” The brand is owned by Las Vegas-based company Affinity Lifestyles.com.

The patients all drank Real Water’s alkaline water before falling ill, which the FDA said was “the only common link” between the cases.

“Epidemiologic information currently indicates that this alkaline water product may be the cause of the illnesses,” it said.

Additional products could be connected to the “outbreak,” it added.

Real Water told News 3 Las Vegas, an NBC-affiliated station, that it would “work with the FDA to achieve a swift resolution.

“While the potential problem arose in Las Vegas, we are taking proactive steps to stop selling and distributing real water products throughout the United States until the issue is resolved,” it said. It had asked retailers to pull the product from shelves, it said.

Real Water did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Family files civil complaint in Clark County

That same day, one of the families filed a civil complaint in Clark County that said three members of the household became ill after drinking the water, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Christopher Wren was hospitalized for several days in November after his bloodstream showed extremely high levels of an enzyme that indicates liver damage, while his two-year-old son was hospitalized with signs of liver malfunction, the lawsuit said, per the Review-Journal.

Emely Wren also suffered from extreme nausea and fatigue, but the couple’s daughter – who didn’t drink the water – had no symptoms, the Review-Journal reported, citing the lawsuit.

The water is sold throughout the US, and is packed in both Las Vegas and Nashville, Tennessee.

Real Water’s website has a gallery of photos of celebrities holding bottles of the product, including Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, and Miley Cyrus.

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The 5th largest school district in the US announced a plan to phase back into in-person learning after a rise in student suicides

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Principal Nathan Hay checks the temperatures of students as they return to school on the first day of in-person classes in Orange County at Baldwin Park Elementary School on August 21, 2020 in Orlando, Florida, US. Face masks and temperature checks are required for all students as Florida’s death toll from COVID-19 now exceeds 10,000, with some teachers refusing to return to their classrooms due to health concerns.

  • The Clark County school district in Nevada announced a plan to phase in students for in-person learning after a rise in student suicides, The New York Times reported.
  • The district has seen 18 suicides in nine months since it closed schools in March of last year. 
  • An alert system also flagged more than 3,000 potential suicide risks based on student writing on school-issued iPads. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The fifth-largest school district in the US introduces a plan to phase students back to in-person learning after a rise in student suicides even as COVID-19 cases in the region rise, The New York Times reported.

As of December, the Clark County school district in Las Vegas, Nevada had 18 student suicides compared to the nine suicides the district saw in the past year. The school district ranked the fifth largest in the country, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent, told the Times. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them.”

“They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope,” Jara continued.

In a statement, the district said it would allow schools to bring back “high-need students” as soon as possible. Teachers and principals would determine who is in most need of in-person learning, and the process will be invite-only and voluntary. 

Jara told the Times that the youngest student to died was nine years old. Another student left a note that said they nothing to look forward to. 

Greta Massetti, who studies the effects of violence and trauma on children at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Times that, with students being out of school, they were missing out on mental health resources that have since been limited. 

“Without in-person instruction, there is a gap that is right now being unfilled,” Massetti said.

Read more: More than 200 coronavirus vaccines are still in development as the initial vaccine rollout ramps up. Here’s how experts anticipate 2021 playing out.

However, Clark County and other districts have looked to fill the gap of resources. After their sixth suicide in July, the district got the GoGuardian Beacon alert system which scans student writings on district-issued iPads for suicide risk. They got more than 3,000 alerts in the next few months. 

By November, the district upgraded to 24-hour monitoring and tracked severe cases that were most likely to act on suicidal thoughts. 

“I couldn’t sleep with my phone nearby anymore,” Jara said. “It was like a 24-hour reminder that we need to get our schools open.”

It’s hard to decisively link an increase in suicide rates to school closures and data on adolescent suicide rates for 2020 has yet to be compiled. However, a CDC study found that across the country between April and October of 2020 the percentage of emergency room visits that were for mental health reasons increased by 24% for those between the ages of 5-11 and 31% for those between the ages of 12-17. 

In November, the district was able to intervene when a 12-year-old student searched up “how to make a noose” on a school-issued iPad, local news outlet KSNV reported.

The boy’s grandfather told the outlet that the student actually made one out of shoestrings and had it around his neck when his father found him after the school reached out. 

“His parents asking, ‘what, why?'” he grandfather, only identified as Larry, told KSNV. “And really what are – the only things they got out of him was, ‘I miss my friends. I don’t have friends.'”

As part of his COVID-19 response effort, President Joe Biden announced that he wants to reopen most K-8 schools within his first 100 days. 

A recent study found that kids who are attending school in-person are not at a high risk of getting sick from COVID-19 as long as they wear masks and social distance. 

“We can teach our children in safe schools,” Biden said. “We can overcome the deadly virus.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

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As vaccine begins rolling out, US hits new record for hospitalizations and surpasses 300,000 deaths from COVID-19

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Nevada and Arizona are currently the worst hit states in the US, with each seeing more than 500 people per milion hospitalized with COVID-19.

  • A record 110,000 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus in the US, The Covid Tracking Project announced Monday.
  • The number is nearly double that seen in the two previous COVID-19 surges the US has seen thus far.
  • Over 300,000 Americans have now died from disease.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nearly twice as many people in the United States were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday compared to the first surge of the the virus in April, with more than 300,000 Americans now dead from the disease.

According to The Covid Tracking Project, at least 110,549 people are currently in the hospital with the novel coronavirus. During the two previous big waves of infection, in April and July, less than 60,000 people were hospitalized.

Arizona and Nevada lead the nation in hospitalizations, with 505 people and 657 people per million, respectively, currently receiving medical care.

By contrast, Hawaii and Vermont are doing the best; neither state currently has more than 100 people per million in the hospital with the coronavirus.

The news comes amid another grim milestone: this week, the US surpassed 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, by far the highest recorded number in the world, per a count from by Johns Hopkins University. Brazil, the next closest country, has seen more than 181,000 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

By early next, as many as 362,000 Americans will be dead from the coronavirus, according to the latest forecasts analyzed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In January, we will pass 400,000 deaths,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dead of public health at Brown University, said on Sunday. “Those deaths will come from infections that have already happened or will this week.”

“Vaccines will help,” he added. “But we can, must do more.”

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