Car production has resumed.
This should be a warning to all automakers. Last weekend, Honda was struck by a cyberattack on its global computer network that was severe enough to force some North American factories to temporarily shut down. The Honda Accord and Acura ILX plant in Marysville, Ohio was one of them. Exact details still remain scarce, but Honda has acknowledged there was an external attack.
"Honda has experienced a cyberattack that has affected production operations at some US plants," the company said in a statement. "However, there is no current evidence of loss of personally identifiable information. We have resumed production in most plants and are currently working toward the return to production of our auto and engine plants in Ohio."
Fortunately, production has resumed at most facilities but questions still remain. Was this a ransomware attack on par with the 2017 attack that not only struck Honda, but also Renault and Nissan? Or, was this the type of cyberattack capable of causing serious harm to the automaker's global systems? Could it cause factory malfunctions? Honda doesn't have all of the answers yet.
This latest cyberattack came at a bad time for Honda. Like all other automakers in the US and elsewhere, it was forced to shut down its factories for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Production at Honda's plants in Alabama, Indiana, and Ohio only restarted again on May 11. Up until the cyberattack, Honda had been working hard to restore its US manufacturing operations to full production in order to make up for lost inventory during the closures.
Disturbingly, cyberattacks targeting companies and major civilian infrastructure systems are becoming increasingly common. While it's rare for anyone to directly claim responsibility, investigators believe they are state-sponsored due to the attack's complexity and professionally-written code. They weren't done by some amateur living in his mother's basement.
As of this writing, Honda still appears to be assessing the full extent of the damage done to its systems and finding and fixing their vulnerabilities. It's only a matter of time until the next and likely more advanced cyberattack strikes.