A prolific ransomware gang claims to have stolen 3,000 designs from Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket team and is threatening to sell them to rivals.
The infamous LockBit group called out billionaire Musk earlier this week as it warned of auctioning off the ‘certified’ drawings in a significant data leak on March 20.
In a post to the dark web, LockBit said: ‘I would 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 that it would leak ‘certified’ drawings on March 20
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 moon missions but also to transport humans to Mars.
Height: 395ft (120m)
Weight: 11 million pounds (5 million kg)
Thrust: 16 million pounds (70 Meganewtons)
Is it reusable? Yes
Max payload to low-Earth orbit: 220,000-330,000 pounds (100-150 tonnes)
Max payload to lunar orbit: 220,000 pounds (100 tonnes)
Solid fuel: N/A
Liquid fuel: Oxygen and methane
Engines: Powered by around 32 Raptor engines
Crew module: Starship (ultimately able to carry up to 100 passengers)
Cost to build: Around $3 billion (£2.4 billion) in terms of total development
Price per launch: Ultimately around $2 million (1.7 million), according to Musk
Where will it launch from? Likely the Starbase facility near Boca Chica, Texas. But possibly Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Total launches: 0
A live countdown is shown to be ticking away on the page, with just four days for the undisclosed sum to be paid by SpaceX to the ransomware group.
Below the post are also three ‘confidential’ documents allegedly leaked from Maximum Industries, which is 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 approached SpaceX and Maximum Industries for comment.
LockBit first appeared at the start of 2020 and has since made at least $100million from ransom victims worldwide, the United States Department of Justice has said.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating the group since March 2020 and believes there have been as many as 1,000 global victims.
The revelations were spoke of as a 33-year-old man of Ontario, Canada, was to be extradited to the United States due to his involvement with the campaign.
Last November, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco of the Justice Department said: ‘Let this be yet another warning to ransomware actors: working with partners around the world, the Department of Justice will continue to disrupt cyber threats and hold perpetrators to account.
‘With our partners, we will use every available tool to disrupt, deter, and punish cyber criminals.’
LockBit’s attacks have not been limited to the aerospace industry with cheese producer Bonta Viva and real estate Radium Life Technology also facing ultimatums.
The Royal Mail also reportedly shut down an ‘absurd’ £66million demand from LockBit in January, according to The Telegraph.
The Russia-linked hackers allegedly broke into the Royal Mail’s software at a time when the company was already facing pressure over staff strikes.
A live countdown is shown to be ticking away below the post, with just four days until the due date of March 20
It is understood the breach eventually led to a police investigation.
Aside from issuing threats, LockBit has reportedly also held some bizarre events offering to pay people $1,000 if they got its logo tattooed on their body, according to Wired.
Alleged threats to release Starship files come after talks that it could explode during its first orbital lift-off set to take place over the next few weeks.
If unsuccessful, Musk shared that several more Starship rockets are being built by SpaceX and he believes there is an 80 per cent chance one of them will reach orbit before the end of the year.
NASA is counting on Starship to ferry astronauts to the lunar surface in a few years, while further down the road, Musk wants to use the mammoth Starships to send large numbers of people to the Red Planet.
‘I’m not saying it will get to orbit, but I am guaranteeing excitement,’ he said of the vehicle that was built to go to Mars, before adding: ‘Won’t be boring!’
The ransomware uploaded documents that appeared to be 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 super heavy-lift Starship SN8 rocket prepares to land after it launched in Boca Chica, Texas U.S)