Toyota Suspends Production at Japanese Plants After Suspected Cyberattack

Toyota announced it's suspending factory operations in Japan Tuesday, after a supplier was believed to be hit by a cyberattack.

Kojima Industries Corp. said Monday an error was found in the computer server system and could not communicate with Toyota or monitor its production. At this time, nothing is physically wrong with the production equipment, the Associated Press reported.

The cyberattack comes just after Japan joined its Western allies against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. It is unknown at this time if the attack is related to the recent sanctions that were placed on Russia, and no immediate information has been released for who was responsible, Reuters reported.

The operation of 28 lines at 14 domestic plants in Japan would be shut down Tuesday. At least 13,000 vehicles are expected to be affected by the halt in production. At this time, there is no impact to productions in North America, a Toyota spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek.

"We apologize to our customers and suppliers for any inconvenience this may cause. We will continue to work with our suppliers to strengthen the supply chain and make every effort to deliver vehicles to our customers as soon as possible," Toyota said in an email.

A Toyota spokesperson said there was "system failures at a domestic supplier," which caused the disturbance. It was later identified to be from Kojima Industries. Its website was still down Monday morning, with the company adding that they had been attacked from an outside targeted virus, according to Financial Times.

"This has never happened before," said Kojima spokesman Tomohiro Takayama according to the AP. "We are not sure yet if it is a cyberattack, but we suspect it might be one."

Takayama said the company is investigating and working to fix the issue, but it is unclear when the problem could be fixed or when production could resume, AP reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government was investigating the attack to determine whether or not Russia was involved.

"It is difficult to say whether this has anything to do with Russia before making thorough checks," he told reporters according to Reuters.

The prime minister announced on Sunday that Japan would join the United States, Canada and Britain in blocking some Russian banks from accessing the SWIFT international banking system, the Japan Times reported.

Kishida also said Japan would implement additional sanctions for top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and announced $100 million in aid to Ukraine for emergency humanitarian assistance.

Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry said in a statement on Wednesday last week: "Given the current situation, the potential risk of cyber attacks is increasing," the Financial Times reported, with Japanese officials saying they were worried after joining other G7 nations in issuing harsher sanctions against Russia that they would become targets.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

Toyota Potential Cyber Attack
Toyota announced they were suspending all production of the 14 domestic plants in Japan starting March 1, 2022, due to a potential cyber attack. Above, the logo of Toyota Motor is displayed at a company's car showroom in Tokyo on February 6, 2019. Kazuhiro Nogi/ AFP/Getty Images