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Honda is the latest victim of a cyberattack

Production was halted for a day due to falling victim

The list of big-name companies falling victim to major cyberattacks keeps getting longer and longer. The latest addition to the unenvious list? Honda.

The worldwide car manufacturer confirmed it had fallen victim to a cyberattack on its network that affected its ability to access internal systems, including computer and email servers. The attack’s impact and effects were so severe that production had to be halted outside of Japan.

“Work is being undertaken to minimize the impact and to restore full functionality of production, sales and development activities,” the company said in a statement.

Uncertain origins

The origins of and type of cyberattack the Japanese motor manufacturer has faced is not yet known, but the company’s statement indicated that the incident wasn’t isolated to just a few computers. “The virus had spread” throughout the company’s network, according to the firm.

Cybersecurity experts who have been analyzing the spread of such issues believe that the company could have been hit by the Ekans ransomware strain, which focuses on industrial control systems.

That’s supported by the fact that manufacturing – which is controlled by computers dictating what the machinery to build motors and vehicles does – has been taken down as a result of the attack. The company was also at pains to point out that there was no information breach at the time of the statement, indicating that they believe they have the issue under some sort of control.

Repeated victimization

The company has an unfortunate past with cyberattacks and particularly ransomware. In 2017, it had to shut down one of its car plants in Japan after it was one of the many organizations around the world to be hit by the WannaCry ransomware. 

And worse, the organization has seemingly struggled to stop the spread of the virus through its network. While most of the issue seems to be focused around the company’s car manufacturing sector, there have also been issues with two other departments that the firm operates.Both the customer service and financial services branches of Honda have also been affected in some way, according to a tweet put out by the company. “At this time Honda Customer Service and Honda Financial Services are experiencing technical difficulties and are unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Cyberattacks are on the rise

Honda is far from alone in falling victim to such cybercrime. A similar attack appears to have struck at Edesur S.A., a sub-company of Enel Argentina, an energy firm, this week. Based on an analysis by MalwareBytes of snippets of both viruses taken from the attacks, it appears that they are the Ekans strain of ransomware. 

The particular strain focuses on industrial networks and tries to take them down – most likely hoping for a big payoff in the process in order to assure the data is unlocked. But ransomware is on the rise and affecting more and more organizations and companies. 

A number of cities around the world have been brought to a halt not because of the rise of the coronavirus, but because of issues around their public data being locked up as a result of a ransomware attack. 

In April, research by Trustwave showed that ransomware attacks were now the biggest type of cybercrime occurring worldwide, on a prodigious rise, accounting for nearly one in five of all cyberattacks observed in 2019 – compared to just one in 20 in 2018.

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