The discussion around cybersecurity risk tends to overlook one key sector—the automobile sector. It’s an industry with some very specific cybersecurity challenges, and recent efforts from Japan reveal a successful way to combat these vulnerabilities.
In Japan, the effort to improve cybersecurity within the automotive sector began in earnest after a cascade of cyberattacks on the sector. First, a series of WannaCry cyberattacks disrupted Nissan’s factory operations in the U.K. in 2017. Cyberattacks on the Japanese automobile sector continued afterward, too. Toyota’s sales subsidiaries fell victim to cyber espionage in 2019, and the personal information of 3.1 million customers may have been leaked as a result. Honda was hit by another cyberattack in June 2020, which resulted in the temporary suspension of the company’s operations in Italy, Japan, North America, Turkey and the U.K. These incidents have been a wakeup call for the industry to realize that cybersecurity is crucial for the sustainable business operations of automakers and their suppliers.