Massimo Maietti and Ehud Barlach accused of confidential data theft and trying to poach Zynga employees for new roles at Scopeley

Zynga sues former employees over massive data theft

Social gaming giant Zynga sue two of its former employees for stealing confidential information on Tuesday, and is alleging the employees in question took the data over to their new company, Scopely, who is also named as a co-defendant in the case.

The two employees are Massimo Maietti and Ehud Barlach. Maietti was working as the creative director on an unannounced title that Zynga have codenamed Project Mars and left in July, while Barlach was the general manage for Hit it Rich! Slots and left in September.

Maeitti has been accused of taking private data and Zynga suggests that Barlach might have done the same, while both are also accused of recruiting former Zynga staff after departure, which is a breach of their employment contracts.

This was picked up by ArsTechnica who also snagged this 28 page civil complaint which lays out all of the allegations and evidence.

Perhaps the most damning part of the document is where Zynga alleges "On July 4, 2016 – during the Independence Day holiday and just one day before he gave notice of his resignation of employment from Zynga – Maietti’s internet history shows that Maietti used the Google Chrome browser on his Zynga-issued laptop to access a Zynga-owned Google Drive account. His browser history shows that he proceeded to download ten Google Drive folders that he had permission to access, but only as necessary to perform his duties for Zynga. The Google Chrome browser "zipped" those ten files and downloaded them to his File Downloads folder. Once downloaded, forensic analysis shows that Maietti copied nine of those folders to a connected external USB device."

"The external USB device was disconnected from the computer, and Maietti then placed the zip files in the Trash, while they remained on the USB device. "On July 7, 2016, over 20,000 files and folders were located within the Trash but were subsequently deleted in a failed attempt by Maietti to cover his tracks."

Zynga claims to have discovered this after investigating why its employees had departed the company, and goes on to say that after further analysis "Maietti took over 14,000 files and approximately 26 GB of extremely sensitive, highly confidential Zynga information."

Zynga’s suit also mentions Derek Heck, a project manager for Wizard of Oz slots and Willy Wonka Slots. The lawsuit claims that Heck “deleted more than 24,000 files and folders in the last month of his employment with Zynga, and referenced articles entitled ‘How to erase my hard drive and start over’ and ‘How to Erase a Computer Hard Drive – How To Articles.’”

The information taken apparently extends to "wholesale copying of the Project Mars folder."

We’ve reached out to Scopley and Zynga for comment and will update the story if we hear more.

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