Tesla has informed workers at its Fremont, California plant that a past employee “sabotaged” operations at the facility.
According to an internal memo viewed by BloombergQuint, the incident took place at the 5.3 million square feet facility. Once a General Motors site, Tesla now operates the factory to produce vehicles including the Model S, Model X, and Model 3, as well as individual car components.
The publication says that the member of staff “maliciously sabotaged” part of the factory leading to operational disruption for several hours.
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Tesla’s VP of legal Al Prescott said that IT and information security teams were alerted when the former employee tried to “destroy a company computer.” To cover their tracks, the unnamed individual then attempted to blame a colleague.
An internal investigation was conducted, the employee confessed when they were shown evidence of their activities, and then was subsequently fired. It does not appear that local law enforcement has been involved in the matter.
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Tesla has taken the opportunity to warn employees that unethical behavior is unacceptable and said that the firm would, “take aggressive action to defend the company and our people.”
This is not the only incident in which the automaker has been targeted for the purposes of damage or cyberespionage. Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged a hacking plot in which a Russian national attempted to recruit a rogue employee to install malware on the firm’s corporate network in exchange for $1 million.
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The malware was designed to exfiltrate sensitive corporate data and upload it to an attacker-controlled server. Once in the intended Russian hacking group’s hands, Tesla would then have been subject to a ransom demand, on pain of the files being publicly released.
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