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Pair of cyberattacks impacting Nevada car dealerships

Updated June 21, 2024 - 5:01 pm

Cybersecurity attacks on two different companies appear to be hindering some Nevada car dealers’ operations.

Findlay Automotive has shared no updates on its efforts to address a ransomware cyberattack that has hindered its ability to sell and service vehicles for nearly two weeks. Operations at the group’s 17 valley dealerships were still affected Friday, one Findlay Automotive service center said customers need to pay in cash and that no appointments can be scheduled. Vehicle sales also couldn’t be completed.

Outside of Findlay Automotive, CDK Global, a national software company that provides services to car dealers, has been hit by consecutive cyberattacks this week, which have forced the company to cut back its operations and limit service to dealers.

It’s estimated CDK serves more than 15,000 locations across North America and is a key partner for car dealerships as it facilitates daily operations such as vehicle sales, financing, insurance and repairs.

It’s not clear how many dealerships in Las Vegas or Nevada use CDK and are affected by the company’s systems being inoperable. “Slightly more than 50 percent of the dealers” in Nevada could be affected by this cyberattack, Andrew MacKay, executive director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association, said in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The CDK issue was certainly felt here in Nevada. Considering they’re one the biggest — if not the biggest — (dealership management system) providers in the country, numerous dealerships were impacted,” MacKay said in an emailed statement.

Dealers are “actively seeking” information from CDK to determine how serious this cyberattack is, said Mike Stanton, the CEO and president of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

“Dealers are very committed to protecting their customer information,” Stanton said in an emailed statement to the Review-Journal.

As of Friday morning, a message on CDK’s hotline that updates its customers said that “we do not have an estimated timeframe for resolution — and therefore our dealer systems will not be available, likely for several days.”

“We remain vigilant in our efforts to reinstate our services and get our dealers back to business as usual as quickly as possible,” said a CDK spokesperson in a statement Thursday.

The group claiming responsibility for the CDK cyberattack has demanded millions of dollars in ransom to end the hack, Reuters reported, citing a story from Bloomberg News. This group is believed to be based out of eastern Europe.

What is the latest with Findlay Automotive?

Findlay Automotive issued a statement on June 10 saying that it’s dealing with a cybersecurity issue that is limiting its sales and service operations and the company is investigating the issue and “working diligently” to fix it. Since then the company has shared no information on the status of its operations or if it’s made any progress in addressing the cyberattack.

Fixing or regaining control of a company’s system after a cyberattack can be a lengthy process, said Greg Moody, the director of UNLV’s cybersecurity program.

“Unless you know exactly that you were attacked and by who and by where, you have to spend time to investigate this,” Moody said. “You have to go through a long, painstaking effort of looking through every system, every account, to see what was done and whether that was legitimate or not.”

Moody said it could still take a while before Findlay Automotive addresses the issue, citing the fact it took MGM Resorts International weeks to get its operations back to normal after a cyberattack in 2023.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on X. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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