Toyota subsidiary held ransom for $8 million by hackers – report

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A large-scale cyberattack has crippled the financial arm of Toyota on two continents, with hackers attempting to blackmail the company for millions of dollars.


Hackers have infiltrated the computer systems of Toyota Financial Services in Europe and Africa this week, demanding $US8 million ($AU12 million) from its victim within 10 days.

The business, which provides equipment finance and fleet management services to Toyota customers, released a statement claiming to be bringing its systems back online following the cyberattack.

According to cybersecurity website Security Week, an unknown ransomware group known as Medusa or MedusaLocker have taken credit for the attack – threatening to release stolen information unless the ransom is paid.

“Toyota Financial Services Europe & Africa recently identified unauthorised activity on systems in a limited number of its locations. We took certain systems offline to investigate this activity and to reduce risk, and have also begun working with law enforcement,” the company said in a written statement.

“In most countries, we have started bringing our systems back online. We are working diligently to get systems back online as soon as possible and we regret any inconvenience caused to our customers and business partners.”

Cybersecurity experts suspect the attack was the result of a recent IT system vulnerability which was identified and exposed online, making Toyota Financial Services susceptible to hackers, according to Security Week.

It’s believed to be the same vulnerability which caused significant disruptions at major sea ports across Australia earlier this month.

It’s understood IT systems used by the ports of Melbourne, Sydney, Fremantle, and Brisbane were forced to be taken offline – though a report from the Sydney Morning Herald suggests there was no ransom demand in this case.

While the disruption lasted a number of days, ships were still able to unload cargo and there were no reports of delays to new-car shipping services.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.

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