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Honda is hit by possible ransomware attack

Ransomware, which demands payment after shutting down computer systems, is growing as a form of hacking

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Japanese automaker Honda had to reportedly shutdown some of its production, and has lost connection to some customer and financial services lines, after a possible ransomware attack broke connections to its network. The carmaker said it knows, as of Tuesday morning, that customers have been unable to access many of its services, from customer support to financial services.

"At this time Honda Customer Service and Honda Financial Services are experiencing technical difficulties and are unavailable," said Honda in a tweet through its Honda Automobile Customer Service account. "We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding."'

Malware Detected Warning Screen Ransomware is a kind of malware that demands a payment from a victim before they can regain access to systems or information. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The possible malware attack was first discovered Sunday, when Honda noted that it was experiencing "a disruption in its computer network that caused a loss of connectivity, thus impacting our business operations," in a statement, according to TheDetroitBureau.

Ransomware is a style of hacking, where attackers block access to someone's network, or threaten to make information public unless they're paid. The attack is effective enough that hackers used it exponentially more in 2019 than in 2018, according to a new study from Atlas VPN, a service that provides virtual private networks for users. A recent study from the group found that ransomware attacks grew 140 percent between 2018 and 2019 — and 57 percent of organizations paid the ransom in the past 12 months. That fee by 2019 was, on average, $19,000, according to the study.

Honda has not confirmed what has caused the service and connection issues, nor when they expect to have some of the disruptions — including customer service — available.

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