Elon Musk-run Tesla has admitted that a data breach affected more than 75,000 employees was perpetuated by insiders in the company.
In a data breach notice filed with attorney general of the US state of Maine, the electric car maker said that an internal investigation revealed that two former employees leaked over 75,000 individuals’ personal information to a foreign media outlet.
“The investigation 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,” said Steven Elentukh, Tesla’s data privacy officer.
The personal information leaked involved concerns data for certain current and former employees, including name, certain contact information (such as address, phone number, and/or email address), employment-related records, and Social Security numbers belonging to 75,735 current and former employees.
According to the company, a foreign media outlet (named Handelsblatt) informed Tesla on May 10, 2023 that it had obtained Tesla confidential information.
“The outlet has stated that it does not intend to publish the personal information, and in any event, is legally prohibited from using it inappropriately. Tesla immediately took steps to contain the incident, understand the scope, and protect your information,” said the company.
Tesla identified and filed lawsuits against the two former employees. These lawsuits resulted in the seizure of the former employees’ electronic devices that were believed to have contained the Tesla information.
Tesla said it also obtained court orders that prohibit the former employees from further use, access, or dissemination of the data, subject to criminal penalties.
Handelsblatt reported in May that Tesla had been hit by a “massive” breach revealing everything from employees’ personal information to customer complaints about their cars.
The publication obtained more than 23,000 internal documents, dubbed the “Tesla Files,” containing 100 gigabytes of confidential data.
According to the publication, Musk’s Social Security number was also included in the leak.