Honda pauses production and closes offices following ransomware attack

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Honda’s global operations have been hit with a ransomware attack and the Japanese automaker is still working to get everything back online. The company said Tuesday that it had to temporarily shut down some production facilities, and its customer and financial services operations are closed.

“[T]here is no current evidence of loss of personally identifiable information,” Honda says in a statement to The Verge. “We have resumed production in most plants and are currently working toward the return to production of our auto and engine plants in Ohio.”

The virus is thought to be what’s known as the “Snake” ransomware. This kind of attack involves a hacker encrypting a company’s files to hold them hostage, and then offering to decrypt them in exchange for money. Honda referred to it as a “major computer ransomware (virus) attack” in its internal alert system, according to a message viewed by The Verge. “Teams from IT Globally and across the NA Region are working continuously contain this attack and restore normal business operation as quickly as possible, however many business processes that rely on information systems are impacted.”

While Honda says some factories are opening back up, owners are unable to make online payments or access the company’s customer service website, according to complaints on Twitter. And an employee in one of the company’s biggest North American customer and financial service offices tells The Verge that temp workers (who make up a significant portion of this part of the company’s workforce) are not being paid while the office is closed.

Even if the systems were back up, many employees at Honda’s US customer and financial service offices don’t have the ability to work remotely. As The Verge reported in May, this meant that many of those employees had to keep going to those offices during a pandemic, and some were worried that the company was not doing enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the last few weeks, though, employees at these offices have told The Verge that Honda has finally instituted temperature checks, enforcing social distancing, and in some places, allowed more people to work remotely.

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