Jun 21, 2018 - Special topic

Sabotage like at Tesla could have been prevented with a suitable data loss prevention solution

Prevent sabotage by employees

The nightmare scenario of every company: loss of data, acts of sabotage and finally production outages - as happened at Tesla. A suitable IT security solution would have been able to prevent the data theft.

Kiel - Palo Alto - Tesla has been struggling with production delays for some time now. This is due to data losses and reprogramming of the production processes. An employee of the automobile manufacturer has apparently already admitted leaking highly-sensitive data to a third party. Previously, he had attracted attention among his colleagues for dissatisfied and even aggressive behavior. This is actually a classic warning sign for impending abuses of company data, as explained by Dennis Buroh, Senior Consultant at Consist Software Solutions GmbH, in an article in Computerwoche.

Technical measures alone, such as firewalls and access restrictions, are not enough to prevent an employee becoming a weapon against their own company.  In addition, a clear code of conduct - which also covers internal interactions between colleagues and managers - in combination with appropriate internal control systems, are also essential. These should use data sparingly, in accordance with the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), but also for IT performance reasons, so the system is not burdened unnecessarily. At the same time, employee rights may not be violated, such as in last year’s case before the Federal Labor Court. This is why Consist relies on ObserveIT (OIT), as it is one of the few security solutions in this area that is able to meet all these criteria.

What exactly is behind the production downtimes of the Tesla Model 3, whether it is in fact only sabotage after not receiving a promotion, or in fact targeted attacks from the outside as Elon Musk suspects, is currently being determined in court in Las Vegas. There, the head of the company filed suit against the former employee for hacking its manufacturing operating system and stealing company data. Musk’s company memo asking employees to be even more vigilant in future regarding colleagues may work to shake things up internally, but ultimately only a suitable IT security solution will ensure success in the long run.

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If employees pull the plug


Petra Sauer-Wolfgramm

Petra Sauer-Wolfgramm

Corporate Communications

phone: +49 431 3993-525

e-mail: sauer-wolfgramm@consist.de