Would you ever pose as someone else in order to gain information about a competing company? It seems when you’re one of the top executives in the business it wouldn’t be that difficult to impersonate someone else online and ask for information, but maybe what happened recently was going a bit too far, and was certainly something that was transparent enough for the recipient to see through the impersonation and learn that someone outside the company was trying to gain information that might have given away some trade secrets and even company projections for the next few quarters.
What happened? It appears Todd Katz, the Chief Financial Officer of the oil services company Quest Integrity Group got online and posed as the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk. During this impersonation Katz decided to try to gain information from a Tesla executive in order to learn what he could about the company and begin a conversation while impersonating the head of the company. While there is no way the CEO knows everything and needs to rely on some of his staff for more information and reporting than he can handle on his own, what Katz did was easy to see through.
Katz created the fake email address firstname.lastname@example.org which should be telling enough to let anyone know that this wasn’t coming from the CEO himself. Most likely if Elon Musk were to send an email within the company to ask for projections and information regarding sales figures and deliveries of produces, which this email did contained requests for. The real question isn’t so much as to why would Katz be looking for this information, but what Tesla plans to do about this type of attempted intrusion into the information and secrets being kept by Tesla motors.
The email in question was sent to the Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler and it was simply a request for sales and financial projections. Would Katz have asked for more information if he had been given anything to work with? Would he have tried to send more emails to other executives of the company in order to get what he wanted to learn from the company? It’s hard to tell what the goals Katz had in mind actually were, but it’s also nice to know that Tesla didn’t give any information to Katz that he requested and will be seeking some form of restitution from him.