Tesla software engineer denies stealing 26,00 secret files as firm sues him for downloading massive cache of code only 40 people had access to
- Alex Khatilov started working with Tesla on December 28th, 2020
- Khatilov, who works as a Software Quality Engineering Manager is alleged to have downloaded 26,000 highly sensitive company files to his personal Dropbox
- Bosses realized what was happening during second data dump on January 6
- His superiors claim he had no need to access any of the files he downloaded
- Khatilov claims he moved the files over by mistake but bosses accused him of ‘lying and feigning ignorance when caught’. He was later fired in a video call
Tesla is accusing a former software engineer of downloading and stealing a massive cache of code just days after he started working at the company.
Alex Khatilov has been described as a ‘willful and malicious’ thief in a federal lawsuit.
Khatilov is accused of moving 26,000 highly sensitive company files to his personal Dropbox account ‘with the deliberate intent to injure Tesla’s business’ within days of starting his job.
Khatilov tells the New York Post that the files were in his Dropbox in error and disputes any allegations that he was going to steal the files or give them to someone else.
Alex Khatilov started working with Tesla on December 28th. Khatilov, who works as a Software Quality Engineering Manager is alleged to have downloaded 26,000 highly sensitive files
‘I’ve been working for, like, 20 years in this industry, and I know what sensitive documents are about, and I never, ever tried to access any of those, or steal it,’ said Khatilov to The Post.
The copied files consists of code which Tesla uses to automate various business tasks including the ordering of parts and delivering vehicles.
The files are said to have taken 12 years to compile and are so secretive that only around 40 out of the company’s 50,000 workers are able to access the details.
The lawsuit details how the various scripts ‘would inform competitors of which systems Tesla believes are important and valuable to automate and how to automate them — providing a roadmap to copy Tesla’s innovation,’ the lawsuit as seen by The Post states.
Company bosses realized what was happening during second data dump on January 6th. His superiors claim he didn’t need to access any of the files he downloaded.CEO Elon Musk, above
Khatilov began his job with Tesla on December 28 and is alleged to have begun downloading the files and moving them to his Dropbox three days after he began his employment as a senior software quality assurance engineer.
He claims that he was instructed to download the files from the system because his job would entail working with them.
He also says that he was attempting to make a backup copy of the folder on his personal computer but then ‘unintentionally’ moved the folder into his Dropbox.
‘I didn’t know that there was 26,000 files there,’ he stated to the Post.
Khatilov claims he moved the files over by mistake but bosses accused him of ‘lying and feigning ignorance when caught’. He was later fired in a video call on January 6th
More files were downloaded the following month on January 6 but this time he was spotted by Tesla staff and confronted on a video call where bosses told him the downloaded files ‘had nothing to do with his responsibilities.’
Tesla have accused him of trying to cover his tracks and then feigning ignorance after he was confronted. He was later fired the same day on January 6th.
Khatilov ‘claimed he somehow ‘forgot’ about the thousands of other files he stole (almost certainly another lie),’ Tesla states in the suit.
‘Even worse, it became apparent that Defendant had brazenly attempted to destroy the evidence by hurriedly deleting the Dropbox client and other files during the beginning of the interview when investigators were attempting to remotely access his computer.’
Khatilov said he had deleted the files that were in his Dropbox upon Tesla’s request and also uninstalled the application.
‘When it happened, I was shocked I just started with the company. The documents didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t lie [about] anything,’ he stated.