Can hackers do any harm to Elon Musk?

3 August 2021

A group of unknowns “declared war" against the founder of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk on behalf of the group of hacker activists Anonymous. The businessman was called a narcissistic rich man, accused of lying and speculating cryptocurrencies.

In particular, the man behind the mask was dissatisfied with the way Musk behaves in the social media: due to a series of his posts on Twitter, the cryptocurrency market suffered a volatility spike, which, according to the speaker, resulted in the fact that “many people have lost their honestly earned money in the market”. He also noted that despite Musk's commitment to conducting an environmentally sustainable business, Tesla's refusal to accept bitcoin as payment for cars does not fit in with the fact that they are being produced from rather environmentally harmful cobalt mining, moreover, involving child labor.

In response to the threats received, Musk did not answer anything specifically, preferring, as usual, to laugh it off and not start a controversy with online trolls. It is worth noting that the fact of the “accuser” affiliation from the video with the real hacker group has not been established, and even now it is not completely clear whether the famous hacker group will attack the billionaire, or whether they have “more important” things to do.

stats

Nevertheless, IT security experts around the world have different views on the Anonymous group's ability to cause serious harm to Elon Musk's companies. Thus, the head of StormWall, Ramil Khantimirov, said that hackers can seriously harm Elon Musk in two cases:

  • 1) if important information is stolen,
  • 1) or if the IT infrastructure of Tesla, Space X or Solar Sity is subjected to DDoS attacks.

Ironically, in order to hijack Musk's Twitter account or steal private keys from his cryptocurrency portfolio, attackers need to have extensive knowledge of hacking rather than just launching large-scale DDoS attacks. As we have written on this blog before, today anyone can use large botnets for $200-300 a week to organize an attack on any site on the Internet, simultaneously knocking out the ISP infrastructure standing on the way to the victim.

What does this mean for Elon Musk himself? In the case of potential material losses, the billionaire can also befall reputational ones. Reputational losses of such media personalities almost always affect the value of their companies' shares, and Musk risks losing also in the capitalization of his stock portfolio.

Thus, even if online threats are fake, Elon Musk should once again think about whether all his online resources and the resources of the companies under his control are safe. Investing in security is never redundant for small businesses or multi-billionaires, even if no attack ensues in the end.