Cyberattack on Supplier Forces Toyota to Shut Down Factories

Close up of Toyota logo and text outside a building

Toyota announced it will temporarily shut down all its manufacturing plants in Japan on Tuesday after a major parts supplier suffered a cyberattack, rendering it unable to fulfill Toyota’s production orders. Up to 13,000 cars of output are expected to be lost.

The attack immediately follows Japan’s decision to join its Western allies in banning Russia from the SWIFT financial system. At this time, it is unclear if the cyberattack has any links to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Toyota’s Recent Global Production Struggles

Toyota is the world’s biggest automaker with a huge manufacturing presence around the world. The disruption to its manufacturing facilities in Japan adds to Toyota’s recent production woes.

The company was already dealing with supply chain disruptions due the pandemic, which had led Toyota to reduce its output. It also faced production halts in North America this month, partly due to shortages as a result of the Canadian Trucker protests.

In fact, a few days ago, the Japanese government introduced new legislation aimed at improving the country’s cyber defenses against the growing threat of Russian cyberattacks.

Kojima Industries Faces Cyberattack, Still Assessing the Situation

Toyota’s decision to shut down factories across Japan is likely to disrupt the production of 10,000 to 13,000 cars. This accounts for nearly 5% of the company’s monthly output in the country.

The supplier in question, Kojima Industries Corp., provides Toyota with plastic parts and electronic components. A Kojima representative confirmed the attack and issued the following statement:

“It is true that we have been hit by some kind of cyberattack. We are still confirming the damage and we are hurrying to respond, with the top priority of resuming Toyota’s production system as soon as possible.”

The company will assess its operational capabilities and make a decision on resuming manufacturing on Wednesday, March 2.

Cyberattack Comes Right After Japan Banned Russian Banks

At the moment, there is no information about the actors behind the incident or the motive. However, the timing of the attack raises suspicion. The attack against Kojima comes less than a day after Japan joined its Western allies in issuing sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the country would join the U.S. and the EU in banning certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the global financial payment system. Furthermore, Kishida said Japan would freeze assets held by Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin.

Kishida condemned Russia’s aggressive action publicly, and offered $100 million in emergency funding to Ukraine. “We will show that a reckless act of violence comes with a huge price,” Kashida said. “The international community’s relationship with Russia can no longer be the same as before.”

If you want more information about cyberattacks that may affect your business or website, take a look at our guide on DDoS attacks.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.