The WannaCry ransomware has wreaked havoc once again, this time forcing an entire factory to stop production after the victim company found infections in its computer networks, according to new reports.
WannaCry Caused Honda To Cease Production In One Of Its Plants
Popular automaker Honda had to shut down its Sayama plant located in Tokyo on Monday, June 19, after discovering that WannaCry had impacted its networks across the world, including Japan, North America, Europe, China, and other regions as well, according to Reuters.
Honda actually discovered the infection on Sunday, June 18, more than five weeks following the spread of WannaCry, a ransomware worm allegedly derived from the U.S. National Security Agency's set of hacking tools, struck hundreds of thousands of systems in 90 countries. Luckily, before the ransomware could nest on more computers, a security researcher was able to register a mysterious domain name included in the WannaCry code, thus creating a global kill switch that at once stopped the attacks.
As for Honda, despite its efforts to secure its systems back in May, WannaCry persisted, causing disruptions not only at Honda's networks, but at different plants, hospitals, and shops and services globally.
Honda, however, wasn't the only automaker infected by the ransomware. Rival auto companies Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co were also affected last month, Reuters reports, when the automaking alliance companies halted operations across plants in Japan, Britain, France, Romania, and India.
Honda's engineers didn't explain why it was able to find WannaCry in its networks a full 37 days after the kill switch was activated. It's possible that the engineers had accidentally blocked access to the kill switch domain, which if true, would have allowed the ransomware to proceed as normal.
That said, production at Honda's other plans had not been affected, and operations in its Sayama plant had officially resumed Tuesday, June 20, a spokeswoman for Honda confirmed.
Since last month, the spread of WannaCry has slowed, but security experts have already warned people that new versions of the worm may strike.
As mentioned, WannaCry is based off an NSA hacking tool, which in turn is a Windows Exploit tool called EternalBlue. One of the fields WannaCry hit the hardest were hospitals in the UK, causing reported closures of wards and patients being turned away. WannaCry had clobbered Britain's public health system, rendering doctors unable to access patient files, which caused those needing urgent care to be denied service.
WannaCry locks up files on an infected computer and encrypts them so the owner has no access. The malicious software can penetrate systems via tricking users into downloading a file, like an email attachment, for example. The user may only regain access if they pay in bitcoin.
In May, several reports suggested that the ransomware could have originated in Southern China, based on evidence that points to the perpetrators being able to write Native Chinese.
Thoughts about WannaCry? Any guesses as to where the ransomware originated? As always, if you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!