Ransomware Attackers that Disrupted Car Dealerships Seek Tens of Millions in Payoff


A group of hackers, reportedly based in eastern Europe, has demanded tens of millions of dollars in ransom from CDK Global, which provides software to nearly 15,000 car dealerships in the United States. The June 19 attack on CDK’s systems has brought operations to a standstill, disrupting daily activities such as stocking vehicles, ordering services or parts, and deliveries.

“It’s just mass chaos at this point,” said Diana Lee, CEO of auto dealership marketing agency Constellation. “The dealer’s required to actually run a DMS for sales, service, parts, for every single functionality — even stocking a vehicle, you can’t do it without the DMS system. So it is a disaster.”

While buying a car is still possible, the outage has slowed down the process, and dealerships that are experiencing the disruption risk losing customers to competitors that can move faster. CDK Global is planning to pay the ransom, according to Bloomberg.

The company was able to restore access temporarily on June 19, but a second attack prompted the systems to be shut down again. Customers have been warned that they may be contacted by third parties trying to capitalize on the confusion caused by the hack.

“We are aware that bad actors are contacting our customers, posing as members or affiliates of CDK, trying to obtain system access,” the company said. “CDK associates are not contacting customers for access to their environment or systems. Please only respond to known CDK employees and communications.”

This is the latest in a slate of recent hacks. UnitedHealth Group, which insures 148 million people, had a data breach earlier this year, and paid $22 million in ransom.

Keely Bastow
Keely Bastow
Associate editor of breaking news. Keely’s previously worked at Axios and Washingtonian and holds a master’s in journalism from American University.

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