Cyberattack hits Toyota supplier Denso but no impact to operations

14 March 2022 - 08:18
By Erica Yokoyama and River Davis
A top Toyota Motor Corp supplier was targeted by a ransomware attack last week. File photo.
Image: Bloomberg A top Toyota Motor Corp supplier was targeted by a ransomware attack last week. File photo.

Denso Corp, a top Toyota Motor Corp supplier, was targeted by a ransomware attack last week, the auto parts maker said, the latest in a series of potential disruptions for the world’s biggest carmaker.

Denso “promptly responded” to unauthorised access to its networks in Germany on Thursday, spokesperson Izumi Saito said on Sunday. At the moment Denso’s operations are not being impacted by the attack, she said.

The incident marks the second recent cyberattack against a Toyota supplier. The carmaker idled all its factories in Japan two weeks ago after Kojima Press Industry Co  was hit by an attack to its systems. Although production resumed after a day, the incident was yet another blow to Toyota as it was seeking to recover production lost in recent months to chip shortages and Covid-related disruptions. 

Pandora, the group that allegedly accessed Denso’s systems, threatened to disclose the supplier’s trade secrets including email, invoices and part diagrams on a website on the dark web, national broadcaster NHK reported earlier, citing Japanese cyber security firm Mitsui Bussan Secure Directions Inc. Denso spokesperson Saito declined to comment on further details regarding the cyberattack.

Toyota, which had been relatively resilient to supply chain snags through most of the pandemic, has been trying to ramp up production to make up for lost output and meet soaring global demand for new vehicles. 

Akio Toyoda, the carmaker’s CEO, said last week  the company would have to review its production plans due to mounting global disruptions. The automaker announced last Friday it is cutting its Japan output by 20% in April, 10% in May and 5% in June.

Cyberattacks have risen in Japan in recent years. Authorities identified 12,275 cyber-crime cases in the country last year, a record high, according to Japan’s National Police Agency. Japan’s manufacturing industry is the largest target for crimes such as ransomware attacks.

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