Former Telsa Staffer Sued For Hacking

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Disgruntled former employee alleged to have hacked IT system and transferred sensitive data to third party

Electric car maker Telsa is suing a former worker, after it alleged he hacked into their IT systems and passed sensitive data to “third parties.”

It comes after company chief executive Elon Musk earlier this week sent out an email in which he accused an employee of carrying out “extensive and damaging sabotage” against the firm.

Telsa is currently a company dealing with a number of issues at the moment, including a record quarterly loss of almost $710m in the first three months of the year. Indeed, Telsa has reportedly not made an annual profit since it was formed nearly 15 years ago.

Elon Musk

Employee sabotage

The ongoing losses had prompted Musk to last week announce that 9 percent of Tesla’s workforce would be made redundant.

Other problems concern production delays to its Model S and Model X vehicles.

But now it seems that Telsa has been rocked by the actions of a disgruntled employee. It is not clear whether the staffer took his action before or after the redundancy announcement.

The unnamed employee reportedly made unspecified coding changes to Telsa’s manufacturing operating system and sent sensitive data to unnamed third parties.

The sensitive data, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Nevada, is thought to include photographs and video of the firm’s manufacturing systems.

Tesla was quoted by the BBC as saying that it has suffered “significant and continuing damages” as a result of the misconduct.

Staffer admission

The lawsuit alleges that the worker, a former process technician, was angry after getting reassigned to a new role.

The disgruntled employee is said to have admitted to some of the activities after being confronted by the firm with evidence.

The angry staffer also allegedly made false statements to the press about delays and other aspects of factory operations.

“Although Tesla’s investigation is ongoing, it has already suffered significant and continuing damages as a result of Tripp’s misconduct, which it seeks to recover through this action,” Telsa is quoted as saying by the BBC.

The firm is seeking $1m (£757,000) in damages.

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