Car dealership
Image: Erik Mclean / Unsplash

Cyberattack on CDK Global stymies work at car dealerships across US

A cyberattack on a major software provider for the automotive industry has made it almost impossible for thousands of car dealerships to conduct their work. 

The billion-dollar firm CDK Global began experiencing outages on Tuesday and investigated the incident on Wednesday. They were forced to shut down most of their systems, according to spokeswoman Lisa Finney.

Finney told Recorded Future News that by Wednesday afternoon, they restored some of their products and were conducting tests with third-party experts to bring back more systems. But the company faced a setback on Thursday.

“Late in the evening of June 19, we experienced an additional cyber incident and proactively shut down most of our systems. In partnership with third party experts, we are assessing the impact and providing regular updates to our customers,” Finney explained. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to reinstate our services and get our dealers back to business as usual as quickly as possible.”

More than 15,000 car dealers across North America use CDK Global’s systems for nearly every aspect of their operations — including facilitating car sales, repairs, registration and more.

Finney did not say if the company is dealing with a ransomware attack and did not answer further questions.

An employee of a car dealership in New York, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about the situation, said operations are almost entirely paralyzed due to the outage.

“We cannot do any contract because the whole system is down. This is what the dealership functions on. You cannot do anything with the parts department. We're stuck,” the source said.

“As a matter of fact, the people that do all the DMV stuff were sent home already.”

They added that dealers don’t have access to their customer database, making it difficult to even reach out to potential buyers. CDK Global has not informed them of when restoration will occur and in the meantime the source is conducting most tasks with paper and pen. 

Dozens of automotive industry professionals took to social media to complain of similar issues

CNN reported that CDK Global has told certain customers that their systems will likely be down for several days after suffering a setback in the recovery effort.

Arnold Clark, one of the United Kingdom’s largest car dealerships, dealt with its own ransomware attack last year.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.