| 6:16 PM EST

Honda on Alert Against Cyber Attack

Computer breach cuts production in North America. Europe and Japan also affected.
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Honda is investigating a possible cyber attack after a problem with its global IT network was detected.

The issue forced the carmaker to halt production at some North American facilities, and employees were advised not to log into Honda’s internal computer network.

"On Sunday, June 7, Honda experienced a disruption in its computer network that has caused a loss of connectivity, thus impacting our business operations. Our information technology team is working quickly to assess the situation," the company’s U.S. operations said in a statement.

Global Impact

Honda’s computer systems in Japan and Europe also were affected, according to media reports.

The company confirmed some impact in Europe and said it is working to “understand the nature” of the problem. But Honda says neither production nor dealer activities were disrupted in Japan.

Ransomware Redux?

Several media reports have said one or more of Honda’s servers likely were infected with the Ekans (snake spelled backwards) malware.

The so-called ransomware targets industrial control systems used for operating factories. Hackers then demand payment in return for releasing control of the network and allowing operations to resume.

Honda incurred a similar attack in June 2017. At that time, ransomware forced the carmaker to suspend production at its assembly plant in Sayama, Japan, for several days.

Several Renault and Nissan facilities in Europe and India also were infected in 2017. The virus reportedly originated from North Korea. It isn’t clear if any of the companies paid off the hackers.

Working at Home Risks

Overall, cyberattacks have spiked this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A study by computer security specialist McAfee found external attacks on cloud accounts jumped 630% between January and April, with many of the breaches targeting employees attempting to log into company servers from their homes. Video conferencing and collaborative services such as Microsoft 365 also are prime targets.

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