Elon Musk, the founder and chief executive of Tesla, has written to his employees that one of the employees of the company had conducted “extensive and damaging sabotage” to the operations o the firm in an apparent hack, and reported a fire on the production line of the Model 3 series.
The first email that came from Musk was sent to the employees of Tesla late on Sunday night. It detailed the actions that were made by an unnamed perpetrator including making “direct code changes” to the operating system of Tesla under fake usernames, and exporting huge amounts of highly sensitive information to unknown third parties.
Both the company and Musk have refused to comment on or verify the accusations, however, various media sources have been able to confirm that the employees at Tesla did receive the email that is in question.
Musk wrote that the full extent of the actions of the employee are “not yet clear,” and that what the employee “has admitted to so far is pretty bad.” However, he said that his apparent motivation was a desired promotion, which he was not able to receive.
The news comes as Tesla is preparing to cut nine percent of its salaried employees, excluding those who are on the production line of its Model 3 sedan, in an attempt to reach profitability while still achieving its production targets of 5,000 cars per week.
Musk mentioned “a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die,” which includes “oil and gas companies”, “the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors,” and “Wall-street short sellers.”
The next email was entitled “some concerning news,” It followed his first email with another under the same headline the next morning.
He described “another strange incident that was hard to explain.” He said that it involved a small fire on the production line for the Model 3. Even though there were no reported injuries or significant product damage, the production line was stopped for several hours.
Musk added: “Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, “Only the paranoid survive”. Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company.”
The share price of Tesla is down by 4.95 percent.
The CEO of insider threat cybersecurity company ZoneFox, Dr Jamie Graves, said that the severity of this sabotage “cannot be understated.”
He said that “both the technology and culture within Tesla need to be addressed,” if Musk is set to counteract the insider threats from the disgruntled employees such as this one in the future.