Honda F1 operations 'unaffected by cyber attack'

Toyoharu Tanabe (JPN) Honda Racing F1 Technical Director.
© XPB 

A massive cyber attack on Honda's global business earlier this week did not impact the manufacturer's F1 business, the company has said.

"Honda can confirm that a cyber attack has taken place on the Honda network," it said in a statement issued on Tuesday acknowledging that a virus had spread through the IT infrastructure.

The attack left workers struggling to access computer servers, use email and to use a number of internal systems. "We lost the connection to our computers online and many employees were unable to do their jobs.

"There is also an impact on production systems outside of Japan," the statement added. "Work is being undertaken to minimise the impact and to restore full functionality of production, sales and development activities."

It means that manufacturing operations have been temporarily stopped at Honda's plants in the United Kingdom, North America, Turkey, Italy and Japan. The business employs almost 220,000 people in 400 group affiliates around the world.

The company said that no secure data had been breached or stolen. Some reports have suggested that it's a ransomware attack, in which a company is locked out of its own files until it pays a fee to the hackers.

"It looks like a case of Ekans ransomware being used," the chief security advisor at security firm Sentinel One told BBC News.

"Ekans, or Snake ransomware, is designed to attack industrial control systems networks. The fact that Honda has put production on hold and sent factory workers home points to disruption of their manufacturing systems."

In Formula 1, Honda makes power units for the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams. However the company insisted that its F1 operations had not been affected by the cyber attack on its parent business.

A spokesperson told that all operations “are proceeding as normal as we prepare for the resumption of the F1 season.”

The report added: "The major cyber attack on Honda has shut down a lot of activities in several factories, but it hasn't had a big impact on the Formula 1 project."

The engines are made at Honda's Sakura factory in Japan. It'e understood that the cyber attack is mainly affecting operations outside the country.

That's especially good news for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen hoping to pick up a second successive victory at the team's home circuit in Austria when the season resumes on July 5.

Despite the hi-tech nature of the sport and its reliance on high-end networked computer systems, F1 has not to date been the victim of any known external hacking attack.

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