A prolific ransomware gang claims to have stolen 3,000 designs from Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket team and threatens to sell them to rivals.
The infamous LockBit group called out billionaire Musk earlier this week for warning about auctioning off the “certified” drawings in a significant March 20 data breach.
In a post on the dark web, LockBit said, “I’d say we were lucky if SpaceX contractors were more talkative. But I think this material will find its buyer as soon as possible.
“Elon Musk, we will help you sell your drawings to other manufacturers – build the ship faster and fly away.
And now about the numbers: about 3,000 drawings certified by SpaceX engineers. We will launch the auction in a week. ALL AVAILABLE DATA WILL BE PUBLISHED!’
Ransomware gang LockBit warned SpaceX on March 20 that it would leak ‘certified’ drawings
In a post on the dark web, LockBit warned: ‘Elon Musk we will help you sell your drawings’
STARSHIP: KEY FACTS
First launch: March 2023?
What will it be used for? Partly the lander for NASA’s lunar missions, but also to transport people to Mars.
Height: 395 feet (120 m)
Weight: 11 million pounds (5 million kg)
Punch: 16 million pounds (70 meganewtons)
Is it reusable? Yes
max. payload to low Earth orbit: 220,000–330,000 lb (100–150 tons)
Maximum payload to lunar orbit: 220,000 lb (100 tons)
solid fuel: N/A
liquid fuel: Oxygen and methane
engines: Powered by approximately 32 Raptor engines
Crew module: Starship (finally capable of carrying up to 100 passengers)
Cost to Build: About $3bn (£2.4bn) in terms of total development
Price per launch: Eventually around $2 million (1.7 million), according to Musk
Where will it launch? Probably the Starbase facility near Boca Chica, Texas. But possibly Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Total number of launches: 0
There is a live countdown on the page, with just four days before the undisclosed amount is due to be paid by SpaceX to the ransomware group.
Also below the post are three “confidential” documents reportedly leaked from Maximum Industries, believed to be a SpaceX contractor.
This included a vacuum engine design, a non-disclosure agreement between SpaceX and Maximum Industries, and kits for the Starship.
MailOnline has reached out to SpaceX and Maximum Industries for comment.
LockBit first appeared in early 2020 and has since made at least $100 million worldwide from ransom victims, according to the US Department of Justice.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating the group since March 2020 and believes that there have been as many as 1,000 victims worldwide.
The revelations came as a 33-year-old man from Ontario, Canada, was said to be extradited to the United States for his involvement in the campaign.
Last November, Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said, “Let this be yet another warning to ransomware actors: Working with partners around the world, the Justice Department will continue to disrupt cyberthreats and hold perpetrators accountable .
“Together with our partners, we will use all available tools to disrupt, deter and punish cybercriminals.”
LockBit’s attacks have not been limited to the aerospace industry, with cheese maker Bonta Viva and real estate Radium Life Technology also facing ultimatums.
The Royal Mail also reportedly dropped an ‘absurd’ £66 million demand from LockBit in January, according to The Telegraph.
The Russian-linked hackers allegedly broke into Royal Mail’s software at a time when the company was already under pressure from staff strikes.
There’s a live countdown under the post, with just four days left until the due date of March 20
It is clear that the breach eventually led to a police investigation.
Aside from making threats, LockBit also reportedly held some bizarre events where people were offered to pay $1,000 if they got the logo tattooed on their body, according to Wired.
Alleged threats to release Starship files come after talks it could explode during its first orbital launch due to take place in the coming weeks.
If this fails, Musk shared that several more Starship rockets are being built by SpaceX and he believes there is an 80 percent chance one of them will reach orbit before the end of the year.
NASA is counting on Starship to transport astronauts to the lunar surface within a few years, while Musk wants to use the giant Starships further afield to send large numbers of people to the Red Planet.
“I’m not saying it will go into orbit, but I guarantee excitement,” he said of the vehicle being built to go to Mars, before adding, “It won’t be boring!”
The ransomware uploaded documents that appeared to have been leaked from the company, including a vacuum engine design, a non-disclosure agreement between SpaceX and Maximum Industries, and kits for the starship. (Pictured: SpaceX’s first superheavy Starship SN8 rocket prepares to land after launch from Boca Chica, Texas, US)