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Toyota Accuses Former IT Contractor Of Data Breach

Third-party IT contractor breached Toyota's systems, compromised sensitive data, automaker says

Toyota has accused a former IT contractor of stealing sensitive information from its systems.

In a complaint filed at the U.S. District Court in Kentucky, the North American branch of Toyota Motor Co. says that Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed illegally accessed one of its websites after being dismissed from his contracting job on Aug. 23.

According toindustry reports, within hours of his dismissal, Shahulhameed is accused of logging into the toyotasupplier.com website without authorization and spending hours downloading proprietary plans for parts, designs, and pricing.

Toyota uses the website to exchange highly sensitive information with its suppliers about current and future products.

If the compromised data was made public, then "it would be highly damaging to Toyota, and its suppliers, causing immediate and irreparable damage," the automaker said.

According to a report in Automotive News, Shahulhameed also has been accused of sabotaging software on Toyota's systems, causing computers to crash.

A restraining order has been placed on Shahulhameed, who is an Indian citizen, that prevents him from leaving the United States or disseminating the trade secrets.

"What isn't clear, at this time, is whether Toyota is claiming that Shahulhameed accessed their computer systems by exploiting a vulnerability, or whether they had simply not reset staff passwords that he may have had access to in his position as an IT contractor with the firm," said experts at security firm Sophos in their blogged analysis of the incident.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
9/7/2012 | 2:43:08 PM
re: Toyota Accuses Former IT Contractor Of Data Breach
In the normal prevention of cyberfraud, one has the system administrator block the users account as a production job at midnight.- When the contractor shows up, you take the laptop he was given and you give him a handshake and show him the door, but first he signs papers that he has not taken away or has in his possession, any private corporate data.- Private also means confidential.

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