The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and prosecuted former Apple employee Zhang Xiaolang (XiaoLang Zhang) this week for stealing trade secrets. This Silicon Valley Chinese engineer used to work as a core technician at Apple. When he left his job and turned to another domestic technology company,Take away some confidential documents from Apple Inc.


FBI agents on SaturdaySan Jose National AirportCapture him. Zhang Xiaolang had already purchasedTransfer from Beijing to Hangzhou, ZhejiangThe ticket is going through security.


Served as a core department engineer at Apple

Zhang Xiaolang graduated from Southeast University and later received a master's degree in electronic and computer engineering from the University of British Columbia. The personal resume is excellent.

In December 2015, Zhang Xiaolang was hired by Apple.Responsible for Project Titan, The project is Apple’sDriverless project, Which aims to develop software and hardware for autonomous vehicles. And Zhang Xiaolang works in Apple’s algorithm team and his main responsibilities areDesign and test circuit boards to analyze sensor data.


Because of his position, Zhang Xiaolang can obtain "extensive internal security and confidential database access rights", which includesHe was ultimately suspected of stealing the trade secrets and related intellectual property details of the autonomous driving project.

In April 2018, Zhang Xiaolang asked for family leave from Apple because of the birth of a child. During this period, he had been to China. Soon after, he asked his supervisor to resign and moved to a company calledXMotors (Xiaopeng Motors)'s Chinese start-up company, The latter also focuses on autonomous vehicle technology.

The label of the intellectual property document suspected of theft by Zhang Xiaolang

Zhang Xiaolang’s superiors were suspicious of his deliberate avoidance at the company’s regular meetings. At the request of the management, Apple’s newly established Product Security Team launched an investigation into Zhang Xiaolang, mainly looking at his resignation. Shi also gave the company 2 iPhones and 1 laptop for work.

Video surveillance is as strong as a mountain,Download data transfer wife computer

Apple’s forensic investigation team found that Zhang Xiaolang, who was supposed to take a leave of absence, was inSaturday night, April 4After get off work, I entered the software laboratory and hardware laboratory of the R&D department, downloaded a lot of materials, and finally took away a large box of hardware tools.

After the incident, the Apple Product Security Department approached Zhang Xiaolang for an interview. Zhang XiaolangFinally admittedFrom the labStole data, And hardware devices including a Linux server and several circuit boards.

Zhang Xiaolang transferred the downloaded data to his wife’s computer, where,At least 60% of the information is "problematic"After the investigation, Apple passed all the evidence to the FBI. The FBI stated in court documents that this information"It is technical in nature, including engineering schematics, technical reference manuals and technical reports."

It is understood that if employees want to access sensitive data like "Titan", they must log in to Apple's VPN virtual private network and must be granted the "information disclosure" permission, and this state requires another employee to conduct a double review. Approximately 5000 Apple employees have access to data on Apple’s autonomous driving, and the database accessed by Zhang XiaolangOnly about 2700 core employeesTo access.

When hired by Apple, Zhang Xiaolang signedAn intellectual property agreementAnd participated in aMandatory confidential training. Due to the alleged theft of Apple’s trade secrets,He will face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $25.

In response to this incident of Zhang Xiaolang stealing trade secrets, Apple has a very strict attitude, not only internal investigations, but also notified the FBI. It is said that shortly after Zhang Xiaolang was suspected of stealing secrets, Apple issued a warning to employees to remind them not to disclose data. In the letter, Apple stated,In 2017, they captured 29 leakers and 12 of them were arrested and prosecuted.

Apple also announced to the media: "Apple attaches great importance to confidentiality and protection of our intellectual property rights. We are cooperating with relevant departments and will do everything possible to ensure that this person and other related personnel are responsible for their actions.

This incident also caused strong repercussions in the Chinese community in Silicon Valley. Zhang Xiaolang's behavior will make the R&D departments of more high-tech companies dare not use Chinese, and Chinese people face greater pressure to survive in Silicon Valley.