Back in August, Tesla made public a strange allegation relating to its cybersecurity. The electric car company says that a Russian-speaking employee was offered $1 million dollars to insert malware into its network so certain nefarious actors could extract data.
Instead of taking the bait, the employee -- a worker at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory -- reported the scheme to Tesla, who asked the FBI to intervene. The ensuing trap involved the employee wearing a wire and extracting key info from the hacker, who was eventually arrested as he attempted to flee the country.
Close call, right? Well, unfortunately Tesla barely had a chance to exhale before reports surfaced that the company had been the target of another attempt at “malicious sabotage” -- but this time it appears to have been an internal attempt.
According to a report published by Bloomberg last week, Tesla sent out a memo to employees of its Fremont, California plant claiming an employee had attempted to sabotage part of the factory.
Tesla’s general counsel Al Prescott said that “quick actions” on the part of the IT and security teams “prevented further damage and production was running smoothly again a few hours later.”
According to a report published by Bloomberg, the employee -- who was not named -- allegedly tried to cover his tracks, blame a co-worker and also destroy a computer. But when confronted with the evidence, the worker reportedly confessed and was terminated.
Automotive News describes Tesla’s internal security team as “robust” and points to a 2018 incident where CEO Elon Musk also alleged the company was a target of “sabotage.” Even as far back as 2016, Musk alleged that the oil & gas industry was working to undermine Tesla’s operations.
As it relates to the most recent scenario, general counsel Prescott says that though the company places “tremendous trust” in its employees, Tesla “will take aggressive action to defend the company and (its) people.”