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Toyota Australia under cyber attack

The company has confirmed the attempted attack that took out its email system, forcing employees to turn to other forms of communication to continue working

Toyota’s Australian subsidiary has been hit by a cyber attack, leaving employees without access to their email messages for days, according to local media reports.

In a statement today, Toyota Australia confirmed that it had been a victim of an “attempted cyber attack”, and that no private employee or customer data had been accessed so far.

“The threat is being managed by our IT department who is working closely with international cyber security experts to get systems up and running again,” it said, adding that it has no further details about the origin of the attack at this stage.

The incident was first reported by a local radio station, which claimed that the company’s staff was sent home. Those who needed to carry out their duties were told to use other forms of communications such as telephone and face-to-face meetings instead.

At press time, the contact information on Toyota Australia’s website was unavailable. The company apologised to customers for the inconvenience, noting that it was experiencing technical difficulties and was unreachable via phone or email.

The latest cyber attack in Australia follows a breach of the federal parliament’s IT network earlier this month. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison later told parliament that the country’s cyber experts believed a sophisticated state actor was behind the breach.

“From the breach of Australia’s parliament and political parties to an attack on the EU’s diplomatic cables, there is a worrying global trend emerging of geopolitically fuelled cyber attacks,” said Andrew Tsonchev, director of technology at Darktrace.

Read more about cyber security in ANZ

Noting that nation states and cyber criminals are ramping up in sophistication to infiltrate what is typically considered the world’s most secure networks, Tsonchev said no system, even those belonging to government, are safe from cyber attacks.

“With Australia’s election looming and those in the US next year, we can expect a hike in disruptive attacks that deliberately attempt to meddle with the instruments of democracy,” he said. “Protecting data integrity has never been so critical and the public sector will need to leverage the strongest defences to overcome these skilled adversaries.”

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