Kia Motors allegedly suffers a ransomware attack

Kia sign with a red background

Kia Motors America has been hit with a $20 million ransom by the hackers behind the DoppelPaymer ransomware.

The attack has taken the car manufacturer’s systems offline, and the gang has threatened to leak sensitive information if the company didn’t pay up. So far, the attack has seen a nationwide outage of internal websites used by dealers. Kia Motors

A ransom note sent to Kia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor America, and seen by Bleeping Computer said to prevent the data leak and receive a decryptor, the company must pay the hackers 404 bitcoins (approximately $20 million). If Kia fails to pay, the ransom increases to 600 bitcoins (roughly $30 million).

According to reports, DoppelPaymer hackers haven’t said what data they’ve stolen.

Kia Motors America denied that it suffered a ransomware attack but did admit it was “experiencing an extended systems outage.”

Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, told ITPro if news reports are accurate, Kia Motors has long since passed the panic mode in dealing with a massive ransomware attack that has affected operations for more than five days.

“From afar, it appears the attackers have taken Kia Motors to its knees. Think about the scale of the problem for a company of this size with tens of thousands of employees and thousands of dealerships. Every additional hour and day they are incapacitated is costing the company tens of millions of dollars that will not be recouped,” Curry said.

Natalie Page, threat intelligence analyst at Talion, told ITPro DoppelPaymer is a problematic strain we’ve seen successfully infiltrate numerous large-scale global organizations recently. It’s infamous for its initial immense ransom demands, often negotiated to a much smaller amount if the organization chooses to pay.

“Unfortunately for Kia there is no guarantee that if the ransom is paid, DopplePaymer’s operators shall not leak any sensitive data,” she said. “Whichever eventuality the company selects, as stressful as the situation will currently be for Kia, for the salvation of the company’s reputation the priority going forward needs to be their clients and shareholders. Communication is key.”

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.