The Supply Chain Matters blog provides a brief follow-up regarding our prior blog commentary related to the impact of an announced layoff involving electric automaker’s Tesla’s salaried workforce.
Over this weekend, CEO Elon Musk warned employees that a disgruntled employee had apparently hacked into the company’s internal systems, specifically the internal production operating system, in an alleged attempt to steal proprietary information.
Yesterday, the company filed a lawsuit alleging that the former employee hacked into computers at Tesla’s Nevada battery factory, stole confidential information and combined it with falsehoods in leaks to the media. A business network CNBC report indicates that according to this lawsuit, the disgruntled employee admitted to Tesla investigators that he wrote software that transferred several gigabytes of data outside the company, including dozens of photographs and a video. Hacking software was further reportedly running on three computer systems of other employees “so that the data would be exported even after he left the company and so that those individuals would be falsely implicated,” the lawsuit alleged. Further noted was that this employee made false claims about the information he stole, including claims that Tesla used punctured battery cells in the Model 3 electric car, and claims about the amount and value of scrap material generated by Tesla in the manufacturing process.
Tesla’s lawsuit further alleges that this employee sent photographs and data to unspecified third parties including financial information and battery manufacturing detail, and that data was combined with false information given to the media, again, according to this lawsuit.
Today, there are reports that this disgruntled employee may have threatened violence and harm to Tesla’s Gigafactory, where this employee was previously located. The local Nevada Sheriff’s office that has jurisdiction where the factory is located has indicated to media that after several hours of investigation, there is apparently no credible threat.
Thus, in addition to the various ongoing manufacturing and supply chain challenges that Tesla is dealing with, there is now this apparent incident related to cyber-security and alleged intellectual property compromise.
The analogy: “when it rains, it pours” perhaps has special meaning for Tesla management right now.
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