Tesla Suffers Massive Data Breach Exposing Personal Information of Over 75,000 People

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Filed under Automotive, EV News, News, Tesla

Tesla has experienced a significant data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 75,000 individuals. This breach, attributed to “insider wrongdoing,” has raised concerns about the security of sensitive data within the company.

The breach came to light when German publication Handelsblatt reported on the incident in May. They claimed to have obtained confidential Tesla information, which included a wealth of personal data such as names, addresses, cell phone numbers, and email addresses. Their investigation delved deep into the trove of data, which spanned from 2015 to 2022 and consisted of over 23,000 files. This substantial collection, known as the “Tesla files,” amounted to a staggering 100 gigabytes of confidential data.

Among the exposed information were the names and contact details of Tesla employees, including their addresses, cell phone numbers, and email addresses. The breach also revealed a disturbing collection of customer complaints, totaling approximately 2,400 grievances related to sudden acceleration issues and another 1,500 concerning braking problems. Of particular note were 383 cases of “phantom braking,” an alarming issue that Tesla had previously faced criticism for. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s social security number was included in the leaked data.

In response to the breach, Tesla conducted an internal investigation that uncovered the source of the leak. According to the company, two former employees had misappropriated the information, clearly violating Tesla’s IT security and data protection policies. These former employees then shared this sensitive data with the media outlet, Handelsblatt.

In an attempt to mitigate the damage, Tesla took legal action. They successfully obtained court orders that led to the seizure of the devices believed to contain the leaked information. Furthermore, the company imposed restrictions on the former employees, preventing them from using, accessing, or disseminating the data any further.

While Handelsblatt assured that they had no intention of publishing the personal information and acknowledged legal constraints preventing its inappropriate use, this incident underscores the ongoing challenges companies face in safeguarding sensitive data, especially in the era of digital interconnectedness. Tesla’s data breach serves as a stark reminder of the importance of stringent data security measures and the potential consequences when those measures are breached, impacting not only the company but also thousands of individuals whose personal information was exposed.


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