‘Absolute nightmare’: cyberattack leaves thousands of car dealers in turmoil

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you might want to hit the brakes for now.

A recent cyberattack has sent shockwaves through thousands of car dealerships across North America, disrupting their operations and crippling sales.

The attack targeted CDK Global, a crucial provider of software services essential for car sales and dealership management.

As a result, its systems have been offline for several days, impacting more than 15,000 auto dealerships in Canada and the United States.

“The day-to-day is an absolute nightmare,” said Brian Matsumoto, a local car sales manager. “CDK is our main database tool, all of our information filters through it,” he added.

Matsumoto explains that the system handles critical tasks such as finalizing deals, generating bills of sale, and processing necessary legal documents.

Matsumoto noted that the disruption is not only slowing down transactions but also deterring potential customers from making purchases.

“What used to take ten to fifteen minutes, is now taking upwards of over an hour,” he said. “Customers are getting a bit scared off, they’re used to digitized copies, it creates a huge insecurity with the customer.”

CDK victim to multiple cyberattacks

CDK Global initially fell victim to a cyberattack on Tuesday, according to cybersecurity news site Bleeping Computer. By Wednesday, a spokesperson from the company confirmed they were “actively investigating a cyber incident” and decided to shut down all systems as a precautionary measure.

The situation then escalated further when another cyber incident occurred later on Wednesday evening.

As of Friday morning, a recorded message on CDK’s customer hotline stated, “We do not have an estimated timeframe for resolution,” indicating that dealer systems could remain unavailable “for several days.”

It is not currently known who is behind the attacks.

However, on Friday, Bloomberg News reported that a group believed to be based in eastern Europe is claiming responsibility. The group is reportedly demanding millions of dollars in ransom to halt the ongoing hack.

In 2022, Brookfield Business Partners acquired CDK Global, with the Toronto-based equity firm valuing the transaction at over $8 billion.

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