- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Honda factory near Tokyo was shuttered for over 24 hours this week after its computers became infected with WannaCry, the same ransomware virus responsible for crippling systems in 150 countries last month, the car manufacturer said Wednesday.

Honda learned late Sunday evening that “computer systems in several plants across the world were affected by the ransomware virus Wannacry,” the car maker said in a statement, forcing the company to briefly halt production at its factory in Sayama, Japan.

Honda launched recovery efforts immediately after the virus was detected and reopened the Sayama factory Tuesday morning, the company said in a statement. In all, the shutdown delayed the production of about 1,000 vehicles.

“At this moment, there is no further impact confirmed, but we will continue to monitor the situation and take every step to further strengthen the security of our systems,” the statement said.

Security researchers believe WannaCry infected over a million computers across 150 countries within days of being unleashed last month by exploiting vulnerabilities affecting certain version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Information about the exploits had previously been hoarded by the U.S. National Security Agency but were leaked online in April by a mysterious hacking outfit known as Shadow Brokers and ultimately incorporated into WannaCry.

Honda said it strengthened its cybersecurity measures in the wake of last month’s outbreak but had failed to safeguard vulnerable systems at certain facilities, including the Sayama plant, Reuters reported.

“There is a possibility that our overseas facilities were also infected… We’re now investigating that,” a Honda spokesperson told Agence France-Presse Wednesday.

Fellow car manufacturers Nissan and Renault previously acknowledged being affected by last month’s WannaCry outbreak, in addition to other victims including Russia’s central bank and Britain’s public-health bureaucracy, the National Health Service (NHS), among others.

The NSA and its U.K. counterpart, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), recently concluded that North Korea hackers were likely responsible for last month’s WannaCry outbreak, according to multiple recent reports. North Korea has denied responsibility.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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