Cyber Attack on Auto Dealers Is a Stark Reminder of the Dangers We Face From Malevolent Hackers

Scott Jacobs/Edmunds via AP

With all the excitement of the first presidential debate this coming Thursday, June 27, between incumbent Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is more going on than just political stories. One of the areas that I believe will affect the campaign before the November election or possibly after definitely has to do with cyber security.

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I have touched on the cyber security issue several times here at RedState, from the mundane... McDonald's Experiencing Outage With Food-Ordering App Overseas Reminds Me to Step Back From Tech 

McDonald's is experiencing technical problems with some customers in Japan, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Austria unable to order food.

In Japan the fast food chain confirmed there was a "system failure" and asked customers to "wait for a while" for service to be restored.

Social media users have also complained of issues in several countries.

McDonald's says the issue, which is not related to cyber-security, is being resolved.

Downdetector, a system used to monitor IT problems in businesses, noted a spike in issues with the McDonald's UK app from around 05:00 GMT on Friday.

Some media reported that there was an outage in China and Sweden.

Other posters in Australia on the social media channel Reddit reported major disruption.

There are reports in Japan that staff are calculating totals on sheets of paper and that only cash is being accepted at those locations.

I'm a typical American, and I will at least once or twice a week pop over to McDonald's and pick up an unsweetened iced tea, a couple of hamburgers, or a six-piece Chicken McNugget. I use the app for reward points and also, pay for the food with the debit card connected to the app to save time getting in and out of the restaurant.

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...to some that are a bit more serious that could be caused by Mother Nature herself or by an enemy of the United States. 


Related: Those Solar Flares Earlier This Month Were a Beautiful Warning on Many Different Levels


So when I came across this latest example of a cyber attack right HERE, I wanted to see the latest example of something or someone pouring glue into how we do things in today's highly computerized world.

The auto industry was trying to size up, and minimize, damage from a cyberattack this week that disrupted how dealers operate. 

CDK Global software customers Sonic Automotive SAH -1.26%decrease; red down pointing triangle, and Penske Automotive Group PAG 0.60%increase; green up pointing triangle, both reported in federal filings Friday that the outage affected some business dealings. 

The companies filed their SEC paperwork two days after CDK said it suffered two cyber incidents. CDK, based in Illinois and owned by Brookfield Business Partners, services nearly 15,000 dealers, which use CDK’s software to manage sales, payroll and general office operations, according to CDK’s website.

Like many dealerships, Sonic, based in North Carolina, lost access to its dealer management system, “which supports critical dealership operations including those supporting sales, inventory and accounting functions and its customer relationship management,” the filing said.

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Now, you might be thinking that some car dealerships were inconvenienced, but they seemed capable of muddling through it. That is a fair and not a totally unreasonable assumption -- except when you dig a little bit deeper and find out that there is a lot of personal information that companies keep on their customers, and having the wrong people with that information can all of a sudden become a huge pain in the arse to you.

As the article above points out...

The National Automobile Dealers Association, which represents more than 16,000 car dealerships, on Friday said it had contacted CDK over whether customer information was compromised. A CDK spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. 

The association also told members to be vigilant in checking all data when systems come back online. 

“Dealerships need to compare their May 31st closing balances to their June 1st opening balances to ensure there are no discrepancies,” the memo said.

A minor glitch can become an issue quickly in today's world.

Whether a major event happens before the election in November or not, Congress and the next president of the United States will need to take our cyber security needs much more seriously because nothing has been done up until now.

Hopefully, Trump is elected and he will dive right into cyber security to protect this country and the electrical grid which is extremely vulnerable, along with all the other things associated with it.

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On a side note, take a moment to check out my colleague Ward Clark's VIP article on a related story about whether newer vehicles are all that and a bag of chips: Cars and Trucks Are More Modern Than Ever - but Are They Better? If you are NOT a VIP member, I cordially invite you to take advantage of a great deal we are running right now: we are offering 50% off VIP memberships when you use code SAVEAMERICA. You can use that to upgrade (the VIP Gold annual membership is by far the best value!) or to give the gift of RedState VIP membership to a friend or family member.

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