CDK Works to Address ‘Mass Chaos’ Following Car Dealer Hack

In a startling escalation of cybersecurity threats targeting the automotive sector, a recent cyberattack on CDK Global, a major dealer management system (DMS) provider, has left thousands of U.S. car dealerships grappling with severe operational disruptions. The attack, which unfolded on June 18, has been attributed to a hacking group believed to be based in Eastern Europe, with the hackers reportedly demanding a ransom in the tens of millions. Bloomberg News, citing a knowledgeable source on Friday (June 21), unveiled the group’s lofty ransom demand.

Despite the looming threat, CDK has expressed its intentions to meet the hacker’s demands—an action that underscores the severity of the situation. In a bid to mitigate the fallout and restore normalcy, CDK announced plans to progressively restore its compromised systems. A statement released by the company on Sunday (June 21) via Reuters highlighted ongoing efforts to recuperate, estimating the restoration process to span several days.

The breach targeted CDK’s dealership management system, an integral component for the daily operations of car dealerships, affecting prominent carmakers such as Toyota, Kia, Stellantis, and BMW. This attack has not only induced significant business interruptions but has also forced many dealers to revert to antiquated paper-based processes for record-keeping and administration. In the immediate aftermath, CDX cautioned its clientele, predicting that the DMS would remain offline for an extended period.

“It’s just mass chaos at this point,” stated Diana Lee, CEO of Constellation, a marketing agency catering to the American auto dealership sector, in an interview with Bloomberg. Lee elaborated on the critical role of DMS in dealership operations, underscoring the calamitous impact of the outage.


This incident serves as a stark reminder of the escalating menace of ransomware attacks within the business landscape, particularly against sectors heavily reliant on digital infrastructure. The attack on CDK Global illustrates how advancements in technology and the pivotal role of managed services have amplified the potential consequences of such cyber threats. The need for robust cybersecurity defenses and comprehensive incident response strategies has never been more apparent, as similar incidents continue to proliferate across various industries.

Earlier this year, the healthcare sector bore witness to the dire implications of cyberattacks following a ransomware assault on Change Healthcare, a billing and payments subsidiary under UnitedHealthcare. This attack, attributed to the ransomware group ALPHV or BlackCat, wreaked havoc on healthcare providers, medical billing entities, and pharmacies, culminating in a staggering $872 million loss for UnitedHealthcare.

The onslaught of cybersecurity breaches has shown no signs of abating, with recent incidents further emphasizing the vulnerability of data across different platforms. Notably, a substantial data breach at multi-cloud data storage firm Snowflake on June 10 compromised data from at least 165 customers. Additionally, the theft and subsequent auction of customer data from QuoteWizard, a LendingTree subsidiary, on cybercriminal forums have further highlighted the pressing need for stringent cybersecurity measures across all sectors.

As these cyber incidents become increasingly frequent and sophisticated, the imperative for businesses to fortify their cyber defenses and develop robust incident response protocols has become unequivocally clear. The attack on CDK Global serves as a critical wake-up call to all sectors, urging immediate action to safeguard against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

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