Honda factory forced to close due to WannaCry virus

An automotive factory run by Honda in Japan has been forced to shut down due to the so-called ‘WannaCry’ ransomware virus.

This week Honda announced that production at its Sayama car plant, near Tokyo would be forced to stop due to the virus.

According to Honda, it discovered the virus spreading within the company’s systems over the weekend despite efforts made to secure its computers when the virus struck globally last month.

The WannaCry virus is a form of ransomware which encrypts all of the data in a computer system and then extorts the owner for money in order to have the passwords needed to re-access this data.

Should the owner of the system not pay this free, the computer is effectively rendered useless, and all data is lost.

“We are seeing an increasing number of hackers are using ransomware to extort organizations for money. These attacks can be very destructive to the target and highly lucrative for the attacker,” said Robert Capps, VP of business development at NuData Security

“They will continually find new ways to penetrate consumer accounts and corporate networks, and evade detection by tools deployed to counter such threats.”

In the initial outbreak of this virus, hundreds of thousands of computers in a huge number of locations around the world were infected, however, the impact was less than it could have been due to quick action by certain cybersecurity teams.

It is unclear how Honda’s computers managed to become infected unless they had failed to update their underlying software. Nonetheless, despite this new infection, so far it has only been the Sayama plant that has been forced to close.

When running normally, this plant produced 1000 vehicles a day across a number of different models, meaning that it represented an enticing target to hackers.

“A plant shutdown can cost millions of dollars per day in lost production and, in any event, is likely to far exceed the cost of the ransom. Attackers are likely to apply risk management techniques to their attacks going forward that will serve to help them get the most return for each attack,” says Mike Ahmadi, global director of critical systems security at Synopsys.

So far Honda has not announced how long the plant will stay offline for.