Apple Employee Steals Secrets: Another Apple Scandal

Apple Spaceship Campus
Apple Park

Running a big company has its disadvantages, especially if you have an employee who steals unreleased projects to make a fortune. Luck was in Apple’s favor as the US authorities were able to catch him before his great escape to China, where he was obviously going to sell it to some big company. This isn’t the first time that Apple has come under the scanner. The company has been facing lawsuits for different reasons, including one because it was making iPhones slow down with older batteries, without informing users.

While you would still love to play your favorite Betway88 app games on your iPhone, you should surely be concerned about your data security given this development.

Zhangs’ Plan to Sell Off Apple’s Designs

Xiaolang Zhang, the former Apple employee, disclosed that he was going to sell designs of the company’s unreleased self-driving circuit board car to a Chinese start-up company that is working on a similar project. After he downloaded the design on his personal laptop, he booked a flight to his home country, China. Zhang had planned to take a flight to China on July 7, 2018 but was caught before that.

Tech giant Apple released a statement following his arrest saying that their legal team is working with US authorities and will be doing everything possible to find out if anyone else is engaged in the scandal along with Zhang and are punished for their crime. Tamara Crepet, provisional lawyer appointed to represent Zhang, chose not to comment and neither did the FBI, who arrested him.

A Look at Zhang’s Career in Apple

According to Apple’s criminal complaint, the company hired Zhang as a software and hardware developer for the self-driving car project. His job duties included designing and testing circuit boards for analysing sensory data. Zhang took paternity leave in April 2018 after the birth of his child. When he returned to the United States after a few day, he put in a resignation letter, stating that he wants to move back to China where he will be working for Xiaopeng Motors, a Chinese intelligent electric vehicle company. He said that the company has offices in the Silicon Valley as well.

Reporting by the supervisor

Zhang’s supervisor raised an alarm when he found Zhang logged in extensive search of hidden databases. The complaint also mentions that he took circuit boards and other hardware from the Apple test lab, which forced his colleagues to show him a proprietary chip. XMotors, the parent company of Xiaopeng Motors also released a statement mentioning that they are highly concerned about the issue and haven’t been in contact of anyone named Zhang.

Zhang’s employment at Apple was terminated but failed to mention if the chip was a part of the project. According to the complaint, out of Apple’s 135,000 employees, only 5,000 are working on the self-driving car projects. Only 2,700 out of 5,000 have access to secret database and Zhang was one of them.

The accused said that he took hardware parts from the place since he was transferred within Apple and thought the parts could help him. The secret data that he downloaded included a 25-page blueprint of the circuit board. According to the US, even downloading a single page illegally to personal computer is offensive and subject to criminal charge.

FBI agents showed up at Zhang’s doorsteps on June 27, 2018, a week before his escape from the United States. The court is currently handling fierce autonomous vehicle cases between Alphabet Inc and Baidu Inc.