Toyota Shut Down Japanese Plants In A Supply Chain Attack

The world’s largest car-maker Toyota Motor Corp. has shut down plants across Japan and the factories of two subsidiaries Hino and Daihatsu after a cyber attack and it is unclear when production might resume.  The attack was on one of the car maker’s largest parts suppliers and this means that the company will suspend 28 lines at 14 plants. 

These events highlight the particular vulnerability of manufacturing industry to such attacks, and the substantial consequences a breach can cause.

The decision by Toyota comes as governments around the world warn companies of cyber attack risks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Senior Japanese officials have said they feared leading companies were now targets for reprisals after the government joined other G7 industrial nations in applying tougher sanctions against Russia.
Toyota, which did not specify the nature of the attack nor identify Russia as a source, said it would stop production at all 14 domestic plants. Toyota employs more than 70,000 workers in Japan. 

Toyota said the shutdown followed “system failures at a domestic supplier”, which it later identified as the general component maker Kojima Press Industries. The car maker has said that this shut-down would reduce production by 13,000 vehicles. It is investigating when it can resume production operations.  Japanese media, without citing sources, reported the attack on Kojima appeared to have affected Toyota’s system for making and receiving orders for parts.

  • Kojima Press Industries’ said it had been attacked by a targeted virus from outside, adding that it was considering informing the police. Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry said in a statement: “Given the current situation, the potential risk of cyber attacks is increasing.”
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the country had decided to join western nations in removing some of Russia’s banks from the Swift global payments system. Officials at the cabinet secretariat’s cyber security centre said they were aware of the reports and were gathering information with the ministry of industry, but said they could not determine where the attack originated. 

One adviser to the Japanese government on cyber security issues said concerns were rising that Russian president Vladimir Putin had unleashed hackers with orders to attack targets in countries that were prominent supporters of Ukraine. 

“Normally, you would look at an attack on Toyota or Kojima as financially motivated, but there does not seem to be evidence of that here,” said the adviser.  

Toyota has already been forced to adjust production goals because of pandemic-related supply chain issues and the global chip shortage.

Asian Nikkei:       Reuters:      FT.com:   Arab News:     DenbighshireFP:       Techmonitor

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