On October 7th an internal email from electric car maker Tesla revealed that an employee had suspended operations for several hours last month on suspicion of “maliciously damaging” parts of the company’s car plant in Fremont, California. After an internal investigation, the employee was fired.
Al Prescott, Tesla’s acting general counsel and vice president, said in the email that the company was quick to respond and that the plant’s operations had been disrupted for only a short time. “Two weeks ago, our IT and InfoSec team determined that someone had maliciously damaged parts of the facility,” he wrote in an email. Their quick action prevented further damage, and the plant resumed smooth operation a few hours later. “
More than 10,000 people work at the Fremont plant, one of Tesla’s most important production sites, where the company makes models such as model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y and sells cars to the Americas, Europe and Asia. As demand for Tesla cars increases, especially for its Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles, efficient production becomes even more critical. Any disruption to the production line could adversely affect Tesla’s goals and plans.
It was not immediately clear whether Tesla handled the incident internally or contacted law enforcement for help. The Fremont Police Department said it did not respond to any incidents that matched the circumstances. The FBI’s San Francisco office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prescott said in an email that the unnamed employee was suspected of trying to “cover up his crimes,” falsely accusing colleagues and destroying one of the company’s computers. Finally, after seeing hard evidence, he confessed to his actions. As a result, Tesla terminated its employment.
Tesla is no stranger to such vandalism and has a strong internal security team. Last month, Ceo Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla’s Nevada plant had been hit by a cyberattack. In 2018, Musk warned in an internal email that there were attempts to undermine the company. He later confirmed that the man was Martin Tripp, a former employee, and that the two had even been in court with Mr Bo.
Mr Prescott said Tesla would not tolerate unethical behaviour and would take action against workers who engage in such behaviour. “We trust our people very much and value everyone’s contributions,” he said. However, whatever the attacker’s personal motivation, these are criminal acts that violate our Code of Conduct and are unfair to other employees. We will take positive action to protect the company and our employees. “
Prescott, Musk and Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.