Thursday, 18 February 2021 13:56

Kia Reportedly Under Ransomware Attack With $20M Demand

Written by Chris Bruce, Motor1.com


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A group of hackers attacked Kia Motors America and subjected the automaker to ransomware that has allegedly shut down vital services like its UVO Link apps, payment system and the sites dealers use, according to Bleeping Computer.

The hackers are requesting 404.5833 bitcoin to decrypt the data, which at current values, is equivalent to $20,899,559.53.


If Kia doesn't pay quickly enough, then the ransom increases to 600 bitcoin ($30,994,200.)


Bleeping Computer also obtained the alleged ransom note the hackers sent to Kia. The letter says if Kia doesn't make any attempt to contact the attackers within three days, a portion of the obtained data would be made public. The demands don't specifically say what type of data this hack stole.


Motor1.com reached out to Kia for info about the current status of this attack and the company's intention. In a statement to Bleeping Computer on Feb. 17, the automaker denied it was subject to ransomware.


"We are also aware of online speculation that Kia is subject to a 'ransomware' attack. At this time, we can confirm that we have no evidence that Kia or any Kia data is subject to a 'ransomware' attack," the announcement said.


Something odd is the letter addresses Hyundai Motor America, which is closely related to Kia. At this time, it doesn't seem Hyundai is affected by the attack, but Motor1.com is reaching out to the automaker for confirmation.


As automakers use increasingly networked technology, hacks and ransomware attacks become a larger risk of disrupting their business. For example, ransomware in 2017 forced Renault to stop production in France temporarily, and Nissan had to do the same in the UK at the time.


UPDATE: An anonymous tip to Motor1.com alleges Hyundai dealership technicians are unable to access part of the system for using diagnostic equipment. This has allegedly been the case since Feb. 13, according to the person who contacted us.


We've contacted Hyundai and Kia with these new details for confirmation.


UPDATE 2: Kia responded Feb. 18 with a statement regarding the issue:


"Kia Motors America, Inc. has been experiencing an extended systems outage since [Feb. 13] but can confirm that the UVO app and owner’s portal are...

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