Honda forced to temporarily suspend global production after cyberattack

10 Jun 2020

Image: © pixarno/

Honda staff across the world were told to not access their laptops following a cyberattack that forced the company to temporarily suspend production.

As the auto industry faces tough realities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Japanese manufacturer Honda was forced to temporarily shut down production globally this week due to a cyberattack. According to the BBC, the attack first became apparent on Monday (8 June) when a virus infiltrated the company’s internal servers.

It went on to disrupt the company’s email, as well as the systems in place to oversee vehicle production.

In order to prevent any further infection of its systems, Honda advised members of staff not to access their work laptops, according to the Financial Times, with some being asked to take paid annual leave for the day, if possible.

As Honda attempted to understand what damage the virus may have caused, it was forced to halt production across most of its global operations. While the majority of its production was back online yesterday (9 June), plants in Brazil, India, Turkey and the US took longer to re-open.

No personal information breached

In a statement, the company said it was not aware of any customer or employee information being leaked as a result of the breach. Honda also said that it does not believe the breach originated from a member of staff working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier reports, based on data obtained by security researchers, had suggested Honda may have been the victim of Snake ransomware attack. Similar to other ransomware, Snake scrambles files and makes them inaccessible to the victim unless they pay the ransom.

Backing up this claim was the reported discovery of files on a malware analysis tool called Virus Total, with one researcher saying a sample of the ransomware available on the site references Honda’s internal subdomain.

Honda’s cybersecurity efforts have been under scrutiny after it accidentally left corporate secrets and private employee information exposed back in 2019. With 40Gb of critical data stored on an unsecured database, the incident was described as a “hacker’s dream”.

At the time, cybersecurity researchers said it gave hackers of even the lowest skill the map and details needed to potentially engage in a massive cyberattack against the company, including personal attacks against its employees.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic