SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Tesla's suit against ex-employee a strong case for IP security

By Sara Barker
Tue 16 Jul 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A former Tesla employee has reportedly admitted that he stole trade secrets belonging to the company and uploaded them to his own account.

Former engineering employee Guangzhi Cao admitted to uploading .zip files containing the source code to Tesla’s Autopilot software to his personal iCloud account.

What’s more, he is accused of then sharing that code and 300,000 files with his current employer, Alibaba-backed China competitor Xiaopeng Motors (also known as Xmotors and XPeng).

Xiaopeng Motors is reportedly developing technologies similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, Tesla claims.

A court document states:

“Mr. Cao admits that at the time of his separation from employment with Tesla he did not disclose that he had previously made copies of Tesla files during his employment, but Mr. Cao alleges that Tesla never inquired about these materials, or any other confidential or trade secret information, during his separation from employment with the Company, and further alleges that he made extensive efforts to delete and/or remove any such Tesla files prior to his separation from Tesla.”

This isn’t the first time Tesla has been put in a difficult situation following a dispute with an ex-employee. In 2018, Tesla took former US employee Martin Tripp to court for sharing the company’s confidential information.

The entire saga could have been prevented if Tesla had used data loss prevention (DLP) products, according to Digital Guardian cloud services security architect, Naaman Hart.  

“There was no need for this employee to be using their own iCloud for data storage even if the original intent was non-malicious,” says Hart.  

“This should've been detected and blocked, either by identifying the important files and selectively blocking them or by a blanket ban on iCloud.  Simply allowing this to happen has exposed Tesla to potential data loss.  Closing the doors to private cloud hosted services is a proactive approach to preventing data loss.”

“Yes, it's great that Tesla can get information from Apple to help their case, but the data is gone and now it's in the wild for Tesla's competitors to use.  Implementing DLP visibility solutions are also a great reactive measure to retrospectively identify and confirm a specific employee's malicious intent.  This information can enhance any court proceedings and get a positive outcome for the victim.”

“Prevention is better than reaction however, so focusing on forcing employees to use approved and secure channels is the preferred approach.  You don't have to make yourself ineffective, just provide a sufficient set of tools that you can control, rather than allowing people to use services completely outside of your control.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
DevOps
Dynatrace extends application security capabilities for runtime environments
Dynatrace has announced that it has extended its Application Security Module to detect and protect against vulnerabilities in runtime environments.
Story image
Data Protection
Zero Trust, but verify - finding the OT in ZerO Trust
The move to remote and cloud-based technologies has shifted the goalposts for cybersecurity. It now needs to cover multiple people, devices, platforms, and networks.
Story image
Cloud Security
Tenable makes additions to Cloud Security portfolio
Tenable has announced additions to Tenable Cloud Security that represent the next step in assessing threats related to cloud vulnerabilities.
Story image
Microsoft
Avast reveals zero-day exploits targeting Chrome and Microsoft
Avast, released its Q2/2022 Threat Report today, revealing a significant increase in global ransomware attacks, up 24% from Q1/2022.
Story image
scam
Classiscam threat expands to target leading platforms in Singapore
Researchers at Group-IB have uncovered that Classiscam, a sophisticated scam-as-a-service operation, has expanded to Singapore.
Story image
Government
Mandiant researchers uncover significant new disinformation campaign
Researchers from Mandiant say they have uncovered a significant disinformation campaign from the Chinese Government in the wake of U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
Data Protection
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Alexey Pinchuk joins us today to discuss the role the company plays in helping organisations manage risk and provide better security outcomes.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
API
Security gaps in APIs plague organisations - study
Together, the findings highlight that existing solutions and API security tactics focused on shift-left strategies are failing to adequately protect APIs.
Story image
Gartner
Veeam named Leader in enterprise backup and recovery
"We believe our innovation and ability to execute validates our solid standing as the #1 trusted provider of modern data protection."
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
SAP
Microsoft unveils two new security products to help reduce attack surfaces
The products are set to give companies deeper insights into threat actor activity and help them successfully navigate the changing threat landscape.
Story image
Malware
Nozomi Networks Labs identifies impacts on 2022 threat landscape
Nozomi Networks’ latest research finds that wiper malware, IoT botnet activity, and the Russia/Ukraine war have had the biggest impact on the threat landscape in 2022 so far.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
Netskope acquires Infiot, delivers integrated SASE platform
Converged SASE platform provides AI-driven zero trust security and simplified, optimised connectivity to any network location or device, including IoT.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner positions Commvault as Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has named Commvault a Leader in its 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions report.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Malware
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
Healthcare
SOTI research explores professional's thoughts on digitisation in the healthcare sector
Interconnectivity, automation and data management were the three key trends highlighted in the report as integral parts of successful medical technology implementation.
Story image
Ransomware
Ivanti and SentinelOne partner on patch management solution
Ivanti and SentinelOne will integrate their technologies Ivanti Neurons for Patch Management and SentinelOne's Singularity XDR platform.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Rubrik
Gartner names Rubrik Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Rubrik has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.
Story image
Machine learning
Sysdig releases CDR offering to combat cryptojacking
Sysdig has unveiled a cloud detection and response (CDR) offering powered by machine learning to combat cryptojacking.
Story image
Open source
Flashpoint acquires Echosec Systems, elevates OSINT capabilities
Flashpoint has acquired Echosec Systems, a provider of open-source intelligence and publicly available information.
Story image
Indusface
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Data Protection
CyberRes partners with Google Cloud in lead up to BigQuery release
CyberRes, a Micro Focus line of business, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions.
Story image
SaaS
Claroty launches new cloud-based industrial cybersecurity platform
The company says Claroty xDome is the industry's first solution to deliver the ease and scalability of SaaS without compromising on visibility, protection, and monitoring controls.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
AWS Marketplace
Watch this webinar to gain building blocks for data mesh, and how AWS customers today are successfully enabling domain driven data.
Link image
Story image
VMware
Latest VMware threat report reveals truth about deepfakes
"Cyber criminals have evolved. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organisations and gain access to their environment."
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Qualys develops EASM capabilities for Cloud Platform
"Qualys unique approach to EASM is integrating the internal and external asset data from CyberSecurity Attack Management with its VMDR solution into a single view."
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than a fifth of cybersecurity teams ban the use of public WiFi
Verizon’s fifth annual Mobile Security Index report has revealed a continued rise in significant cyberattacks in the last year involving a mobile/IoT device.
Story image
Ransomware
Majority of execs in SEA anticipate ransomware attacks
Kaspersky's study uncovers that more than half believe a ransomware attack against their business is too small to worry about.
Story image
Firewall
Fortinet unveils compact firewall for hyperscale data centres, 5G networks
"Fortinet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in security performance has yielded the most powerful compact firewall yet."
Story image
Cybersecurity
FirstWave responds to SMB demand for better cybersecurity
FirstWave developed the CyberCision Open Security Management Platform to respond to SMBs 'urgent' need for comprehensive cyber protection.
Story image
Malware
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.