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Honda halts production at Japan plant after cyber attacks

The Japanese car manufacturer had to stop production at its plant near Tokyo The Japanese car manufacturer had to stop production at its plant near TokyoKAZUHIRO NOGI AFP GETTY IMAGES
Nellie Chapman | 22 June, 2017, 07:29

The infamous WannaCry ransomware virus is still causing havoc at major organisations throughout the world, this time affecting Japanese vehicle manufacturer Honda. It was pretty big news for a while but things eventually subsided, although to say that the malware has been stopped would be a rather irresponsible thing to say, especially considering its latest victim.

The Japanese auto maker halted production for one day at a domestic vehicle plant on Monday after finding samples of the WannaCrypt ransomware in its computer network, Reuters reports.

Work at other plants was unaffected but Honda said it is checking its overseas operations for problems.

WannaCry, the ransomware attack that ricocheted around the world in May, raised its ugly head again earlier this week, causing Honda to halt production at its Sayama plant north of Tokyo.

Honda's discovery comes nearly six weeks after WannaCry first emerged on 12 May 2017 and subsequently infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries.

The automaker shut down operations at its Sayama plant Monday after finding the malware. Other victims included Telefónica and the UK National Health Service (NHS).

Hackers locked files and demanded payment to secure data. As dust settled on the attacks, the unit promised more cyberweapons would soon be published.

Honda isn't the only automaker to have been hit by the ransomware.

Jonathan Penn, the director of strategy for cybersecurity firm Avast, told International Business Times his company has thus far observed 1.3 million encounters of WannaCry in 153 countries.

"Last month's global WannaCry attack was-or at least should have been-a wake-up call that security should be proactive, not reactive", Penn said. It is odd because the original WannaCry ransomware version that was deployed in the mid-May attacks has been stopped from making new victims after a security researcher registered a domain that prevented new infections.

Marco Cova, senior security researcher at Lastline said: "One of the lessons of this incident is that security is a concern for all type of businesses, including "traditional" ones, and all areas of business, including those that are typically not seen as being "online": nowadays, every business is an online business and can be affected by a security incident, either as part of targeted attacks or as part of random malicious activity".