Zynga sued two of its former employees on Tuesday. The game services company claims that they stole confidential information and took it to Scopely, their new employer. Scopely is named as a co-defendant in the case, according to Ars Technica.
Scopely named co-defendant
Scopely, a rival social gaming startup, makes Wheel of Fortune Free Play, Dice with Buddies and other titles. Ehud Barlach and Massimo Maietti worked as higher-up employees for the San Francisco-based gaming firm until they left in September and July, respectively.
Maietti was the creative director for one of Zynga’s most ambitious soon-to-be released games, which is dubbed Project Mars, according to the game maker’s 28-page civil complaint. Barlach was the general manager of Hit It Rich! Slots.
Both employees are accused of taking a large quantity of private data and recruiting several former colleagues to join them at Scopely. According to the San-Francisco-based company, this was in violation of their employment contracts.
How Zynga learned of the data theft
When it became aware that “key talent” was leaving, Zynga commissioned a forensic examination of the computers of the former employees, going back to Maietti. The gaming company alleges that Maietti’s Internet history shows that he used the Google Chrome browser on his Zynga-issued laptop to access a Zynga-owned Google Drive account.
The company added that Maietti’s browser history shows that he downloaded 10 Google Drive folders that he had permission to access. Forensic analysis also shows that Maietti copied nine of those folders to a connected external USB device. Zynga alleged that the external USB device was disconnected from the PC and that Maietti placed the .zip files in the Trash, while they remained on the USB device.
According to the lawsuit, those zipped files have identical names to those in Zynga’s Google Drive account and consist of highly confidential, extremely sensitive information, “including wholesale copying of the Project Mars folder.”
“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,” the game maker alleges.
Zynga alleges that an analysis of the corresponding Google Drive folders indicates that Maietti took approximately 26 GB of data and over 14,000 files of extremely sensitive information. According to the game maker, other information taken includes unreleased game design documents, design specifications for CastleVille and FarmVille 2, play test results, financial information, and best practice sheets.
As of now, there have been no comments from Barlach, Maietti, or Scopely.