A former engineer at Apple has stolen factory secrets. This engineer worked for Apple on the project of self-driving cars. He wanted to get away with it, to a Chinese car start-up. Just before he went into the air with the secrets, he was arrested at San Jose airport in California.
Apple’s autonomous car
Mr. Zhang worked since 2015 for Apple to develop software and hardware for Apple’s project of the autonomous car. In April this year, the engineer announced the start of the Chinese start-up Xiaopeng Motors.
His supervisor smelled something bad. Zhang supplied his work telephones and laptops. After that, his network activities were reviewed and one carried out a forensic analysis on his work equipment. In fact, his activities on the Apple campus were also traced. The security team found, after reporting from the supervisor, that Zhang had downloaded many pages of information from secret databases and hardware from Apple’s autonomous auto lab. His network activities were much higher compared to the previous two years.
On footage, security guards saw that Zhang left the lab with a keyboard, cables and a big box at the end of April, just before he left. Apple has confronted Zhang with this in a conversation a few days later. Zhang admitted having downloaded data and erased items. After searching his laptop, it turned out that he had 40 GB of data, of which 60% was ‘very problematic’ according to the forensic team. Zhang claimed to work for Xpeng. He was voluntarily removed from Apple.
At the end of June he was also questioned by the FBI, where he told the same thing as to Apple. On July 7, the FBI noticed that he had booked a ticket to China. After the security check at San Jose airport, he was arrested. The consequences for this crook are not wrong. He can get ten years in prison and receive a fine of $ 250,000 if he is found guilty.