Japanese automotive company Honda was forced to halt production at one of its manufacturing plants when it discovered the WannaCry ransomware virus had infected its computer network.
The Sayama plant in Japan, northwest of Tokyo, was shut on Monday following the discovery of the ransomware on Sunday. A Honda spokeswoman told Reuters that the virus had affected networks across Japan, North America, Europe, China and elsewhere, despite efforts to secure the network in May when WannaCry affected companies and public services across the globe.
Honda said that production across its other plants continued as normal, and that production at the Sayama plant, which produces as many as 1,000 vehicles a day, commenced from Tuesday.
The WannaCry virus was first spotted on May 12 this year, when over 200,000 machines in 150 countries were infected The UK’s National Health Service was among the worst hit, with 47 NHS Trusts in England and 13 in Scotland infected, forcing surgical operations to be cancelled and staff to use pen and paper to record patient data.
The experts’ view
At the time of the initial Wannacry outbreak, security experts warned that further infections might be detected in the weeks ahead.
Commenting on the situation at Toyota, Javvad Malik of IT security company AlienVault said: “While the initial wave of WannaCry infected systems may have passed, it doesn’t mean that attacks have completely ceased and enterprises should become complacent. It’s vital that enterprises take the necessary steps to protect themselves against attacks like WannaCry, and keeping ahead of the curve with threat intelligence and having threat detection and incident response capabilities.”
Gavin Millard, technical director at Tenable, said that continued exploitations of MS17-0101, the vulnerability that Wanncry exploits, was “hardly surprising.”
“Conflicker and MS08-67, the main vulnerability it exploited, is still popping up on occasion nine years after it began infecting millions of systems around the world,” he pointed out.
And according to Leigh-Anne Galloway, cyber security resilience lead at Positive Technologies, this whole situation could have been prevented. “Microsoft released patches in March to fix the vulnerability that has allowed WannaCry to spread, but many organizations have been particularly slow to implement them,” Galloway said.
“Honda has taken the right precautionary measures ceasing production. Safety of employees should be of up most concern. However this incident could have been prevented with basic security hygiene, a patch management program and automatic updates to systems.”