What just happened? Carmakers are already having a tough time amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, but things have just gotten worse for Honda. The company today revealed that a "cyber attack" has taken place on its network, which has hindered its operations worldwide.
The attack is reportedly the result of an external virus and has affected Honda employees' ability to access computer systems. According to the company, production and operations across various regions -- including the UK, North America, Italy, Japan, and Turkey -- have also been temporarily halted due to the attack.
Even Honda's customer service and financial departments (which are likely working from home now) have struggled to respond to customer queries. Indeed, the company's official Automobile Customer Service Twitter account has pinned the following tweet to briefly describe the situation:
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.— Honda Automobile Customer Service (@HondaCustSvc) June 8, 2020
Honda seems hopeful that work will resume soon -- perhaps as early as this afternoon, according to the BBC -- but the exact timeline will probably depend on the nature of this attack, and how far it's already spread.
Reports suggest that the virus could be a form of ransomware, which is often extraordinarily difficult to deal with -- see 2017's WannaCry debacle for evidence of that. Nonetheless, the good news here is that no sensitive data has been obtained by attackers as of writing.
All employee and customer records are still secure, and if this is a ransomware attack, that will likely remain the case moving forward. Ransomware attackers typically just lock down computer systems and attempt to extort money out of users in exchange for unlocking them.
We've reached out to Honda for more details about the nature of the cyber attack, but we don't expect a detailed response at this time. The carmaker's investigation still appears to be ongoing, and Honda will likely want to wait until it has concluded before it shares any specifics.