Report: Tesla Data Breach Was an Inside Job

A data breach at Tesla in May was apparently the work of insiders.

That’s according to a notice from the Maine attorney general issued Friday (Aug. 18), which said the breach impacted 75,735 people, nine of them from Maine, who are apparently current or former Tesla employees.

The notice also includes a copy of a letter sent by Tesla to people impacted by the breach, saying the company learned of the situation from the German business news outlet Handelsblatt on May 10.

An investigation, the letter adds, “revealed that two former Tesla employees misappropriated the information in violation of Tesla’s IT security and data protection policies and shared it with the media outlet.”

Tesla says it filed suit against two former employees and got court permission to seize devices which were thought to have contained company information.

“Tesla also obtained court orders that prohibit the former employees from further use, access, or dissemination of the data, subject to criminal penalties,” the letter continued. “Tesla cooperated with law enforcement and external forensics experts and will continue to take appropriate steps as necessary.”

PYMNTS has contacted Tesla for comment but has not yet received a reply.

Last month, PYMNTS looked at Tesla’s ambitions to create a driverless-future. The Elon Musk-led company plans to invest more than $1 billion by the end of 2024 to create an in-house supercomputer named “Dojo.” 

“More so than competitors, Tesla has focused on building out and owning the entire EV ecosystem, from selling to servicing to charging vehicles,” that report noted.

It’s a strategy that has borne fruit, with both Ford and General Motors planning to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) for their electric cars. The company’s Superchargers already make up about 60% of the total fast chargers in the U.S. and Canada, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“By sparing no expense to become a supercomputer leader, Tesla is making the same bet on providing the computing power behind self-driving capabilities,” PYMNTS wrote.

Dojo is being built to parse massive amounts of data and train Tesla’s machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) models to boost the EV company’s advanced driver-assistance system, with the ultimate goal of supporting completely autonomous driving. 

“Tesla already operates what has been described as the “number five” supercomputer in the world to develop its driverless autopilot system,” PYMNTS wrote.

“Dojo represents a quantum leap forward from the powers of even that hefty piece of parallel computing cluster hardware.”