Volkswagen stuck in neutral after 'IT disruption'

Factories and offices are going nowhere, fast

Updated Some of Volkswagen’s operations have screeched to a halt after some sort of cyber incident, according to German media reports.

The event has halted large parts of the car manufacturer's IT and production systems at locations around the globe, according to daily business newspaper Handelsblatt.

A VW spokesperson confirmed the disruption to the German publication, describing it as an "IT disruption of network components at the Wolfsburg location." It reportedly began at 1230 local time on Wednesday, and the full extent of the shutdown remains unknown.

Volkswagen did not immediately respond to The Register's inquiries about the IT incident, but we will update this story as soon as we hear back from the automaker.

Operations have also been shut down at other VW factories in Germany, including Emden, Dresden, Osnabrück and Zwickau, according to the German newspaper. VW-owned Audi facilities are also said to be affected by the disruption.

We hear that computer systems and email in some VW offices are also offline

Handelsblatt, citing VW officials, reports that "an attack from outside is currently unlikely," although neither the publication nor the officials gave any context to this statement.

This isn't the German automaker’s first infosec mess. In 2021, intruders stole more than three million customers' contact information after breaching a VW supplier. Three years earlier, Level One Robotics, which builds factory robots for automakers, leaked confidential info online belonging to VW and several other automakers.

More recently, Mozilla privacy researchers blasted both Volkswagen and Audi for their lax data retention and privacy practices, calling the vehicle brands and 25 others "data privacy nightmares on wheels."

There’s no word on the source of the attack. Russian hacktivists, however, have been keen to target German organizations with distributed denial of service attacks as part of their actions against nations that support Ukraine and/or harm Russia by criticizing its illegal invasion and shunning its energy exports. ®

Updated to add

"The IT infrastructure problems in the Volkswagen network were resolved in the course of the night, and the network is working stably again," a Volkswagen spokesperson told The Register.

"The affected applications are currently being restarted. The global production network is starting, and production is to take place according to plan. Individual systems may still be affected in a transitional phase. There are still no indications that the disturbance was caused by external influences."

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