Tesla sues ex-employee for hacking and transferring data to third parties

Martin Tripp had admitted to hacking and transferring several GB of data at Tesla to third parties.

Tesla has sued a former employee claiming that he hacked the electric carmaker’s trade secrets and transferred large amounts of company data to third parties, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Nevada on 20 June.

In its lawsuit Tesla claimed that Martin Tripp, who formerly worked at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, had admitted to writing software that hacked the carmaker’s manufacturing operating system, transferring several gigabytes of its data to third parties and making false claims to the media.

Tesla sues ex-employee for hacking and transferring data to third parties

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla. Image: Reuters

Tripp was not immediately available for comment. His hacking software was operating on three separate computer systems of other individuals at Tesla so that the data would be exported even after he left the company and falsely implicate those individuals, according to the lawsuit.

“Within a few months of Tripp joining Tesla, his managers identified Tripp as having problems with job performance and at times being disruptive and combative with his colleagues,” the lawsuit said.

“As a result of these and other issues, on or about May 17, 2018, Tripp was assigned to a new role. Tripp expressed anger that he was reassigned.”

Earlier this week, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk told employees in an email that an unnamed Tesla employee had conducted “extensive and damaging sabotage” to the company’s operations.

“The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad,” Musk wrote without specifying who he was referring to.

A Tesla spokesperson had no additional comment.

Tesla stock was trading up slightly on 20 June, just below $355.