Cyber Attack takes down Toyota Australia

2019, Breaches, February

Who: Toyota Australia

# of Accounts Breached:

When it happened: February 21, 2019

What happened: Toyota’s Australian subsidiary has been hit by a cyber attack, leaving employees without access to their email messages for days.

How it happened: Car maker Toyota admitted earlier today that it had suffered what appears to have been a malware attack at its facilities in Melbourne, Australia that knocked out its website and other communications. The first public sign of a problem appeared on Toyota Australia’s website, which was offline for a period of time in the aftermath of the attack. The company’s phone and emails systems were also temporarily unavailable.

Outcome: A spokesperson told the media that the attack had impacted Toyota Australia’s operations worldwide but that its dealer network had remained operational. Toyota reassured customers, employees, ​and its business partners that it does not believe at this stage that any private information has been accessed. That would have certainly fit the bill if Toyota’s infrastructure had been hit by ransomware. However, at this stage, Toyota Australia has not confirmed whether it was ransomware that disrupted its systems, nor has it specified the name of any malware that may have been involved. The latest cyber attack in Australia follows a breach of the federal parliament’s IT network earlier this month. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison later told parliament that the country’s cyber experts believed a sophisticated state actor was behind the breach. Protecting data integrity has never been so critical and the public sector will need to leverage the strongest defenses to overcome these skilled adversaries.