A suspected cyberattack hit one of Toyota’s suppliers of electronic components and plastic parts at one of its plants in Japan, wiping out 13,000 cars' worth of output. The automaker said it is suspending all Japanese operations until the company has an opportunity to investigate the situation and restore factory operations to normal.
CNBC reports that it’s unknown who was responsible for the attack or what their reason was, but NikkeiAsia reports that malware was involved. Russia has been implicated due to Japan joining Western allies and blocking Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT international payment network in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Fumio Kishida, Japan’s Prime Minister, said the government would launch a probe into the incident to determine whether Russia was involved or not.
“It is difficult to say whether this has anything to do with Russia before making thorough checks,” he told reporters. As for Toyota’s official stance on the matter, a spokesperson for the company described it as a “supplier system failure.”
The effect on production
All told, 28 lines at 14 Toyota plants – plus some plants operated by Toyota’s affiliates Hino Motors and Daihatsu – were shut down because of the incident.
Toyota has not said exactly how long the shutdown will last, but the spokesperson said it will last for more than a day.
Toyota has experienced cyberattacks in the past in Japan and Australia. This time around, though, the company also has to contend with supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Those conditions were made worse when protesters prevented trucks from passing through U.S-Canadian borders to deliver parts to North American Toyota factories.