Elon Musk Reveals How Tesla Caught Employee Who Leaked Confidential Data


Elon Musk has revealed how Tesla caught an employee who was leaking the company’s confidential information to the press in 2008. The billionaire responded to aTwitter user who asked, “Elon in 2008 how did you catch that employee who leaked the confidential data of Tesla and sold it to the news outlet?”

Elon Musk shared that they identified the accused by sending emails that looked identical to all its employees but each email was coded with different spaces. “That is quite an interesting story. We sent what appeared to be identical emails to all, but each was actually coded with either one or two spaces between sentences, forming a binary signature that identified the leaker,” Mr Musk wrote.

Another user then asked Mr Musk about the fate of the employees caught. “I’m not familiar with this. What happened to them? Fine, jail?” the tweet read.

Replying to this, the Tesla CEO revealed that “They were invited to further their career elsewhere”.

On being asked if he took any legal action against those involved in the data leak, Mr Musk wrote that he was “Too busy trying to survive at the time”.

Elon Musk’s revelation prompted a flurry of reactions from social media users where some identified the technique used to catch the employee as the Canary Trap. One user also offered an explanation on the technique, simplifying it for others.

In 2019, Tesla had sent an email to its employees warning them to stop leaking confidential information. The email highlighted that Tesla employees had signed confidentiality agreements and action will be taken against those who “improperly leak proprietary business information or violate the non-disclosure obligations to which we all agreed”. The action could mean termination of the employee, criminal charges, or claims for damages, the email added, as reported by CNBC





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