Honda’s global operations have been halted as the Japanese automaker battles to recover from a cyber-attack that affected several factories worldwide. The cyber-attack at the beginning of the week targeted Honda’s internal servers and reportedly spread a virus through the company’s systems, affecting its ability to access its computer servers, use email and otherwise make use of its internal systems.
According to media reports, the cyber-attack affected more than 11 Honda plants including 5 in the US. The company has confirmed that work at its plants in UK, North America, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, India as well as Japan have been suspended. However according to Honda some of the affected sites would go back online soon.
As per the official statement by the company:
“Honda can confirm that a cyber-attack has taken place on the Honda network. There is also an impact on production systems outside of Japan. Work is being undertaken to minimize the impact and to restore full functionality of production, sales and development activities.”
Some cyber-security experts have said it looks like a ransomware attack, which means that hackers might have encrypted data or locked Honda out of some of its IT systems. According to Morgan Wright, Chief Security Advisor at security firm Sentinel One:
‘It looks like a case of Ekans or Snake ransomware being used. It is designed to attack industrial control systems networks. The fact that Honda has put production on hold and sent factory workers home points to disruption of their manufacturing systems.’
Global automakers including Honda have already been hit hard by a slump in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. Honda recently posted its lowest operating profit in 4 years and refrained from releasing an earnings outlook for current year because of uncertainty about the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 on global car demand.
Honda employs nearly 220,000 people worldwide across more than 400 group affiliate companies. The latest ransomeware attack will only add to the woes for the company; however Honda says no data has been breached adding that “at this point, we see minimal business impact”.