Back in August, Tesla made public a strange allegation relating to its cybersecurity.
The electric car company said 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 at its Fremont, Calif., plant claiming an employee had attempted to sabotage part of the factory.
Tesla 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.”
Bloomberg reports the employee, who was not named, allegedly tried to cover his tracks, blame a coworker, and 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 when CEO Elon Musk also alleged the company was a target of “sabotage.” Even as far back as 2016, Musk alleged that the oil and gas industry was working to undermine Tesla’s operations.
As it relates to the most recent scenario, Prescott said although the company places “tremendous trust” in its employees, Tesla “will take aggressive action to defend the company and (its) people.”