CDK global cyberattack: Car dealerships go offline

  • The CDK Global cyberattack highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in digital-dependent industries like automotive sales, disrupting essential services and potentially compromising customer data.
  • Car dealerships’ reliance on digital systems was evident during the outage, underscoring the need for robust business continuity plans to swiftly adapt to cyber incidents and maintain operational efficiency.

I believe that the cyberattack on CDK Global demonstrates the threats and challenges of digital business operations. Modern businesses are highly dependent on technology systems to manage business processes and customer data. This incident once again emphasises the importance of protecting data security and establishing a robust business continuity plan to deal with unknown risks and challenges that may occur.

–Sissy Li, BTW reporter

In today’s digital business environment, companies such as automotive dealers rely heavily on technology systems to manage sales, customer relationships and operational efficiency. However, a recent cyber attack on CDK Global has highlighted the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and raised the importance of business continuity planning.

Also read: Protecting your data in the digital age: The most pressing cybersecurity threats

Also read: HGS launches AI-driven cybersecurity solutions to combat evolving threats

What happened

CDK Global, a major provider of management software for car dealerships in North America, experienced a cyberattack that severely impacted their systems. CDK Global first detected a cyber incident and took proactive measures by shutting down all systems. This initial response was intended to contain the attack and protect data and systems from further compromise.

After some time, CDK restored its systems, allowing dealerships temporary access. However, they had to shut down again shortly afterward due to another cyber incident. This suggests that either the initial attack was not fully mitigated or that new vulnerabilities were exploited shortly after restoration.

The outage left approximately 15,000 car dealerships across North America unable to access critical internal systems. These systems are essential for managing car sales, customer information, scheduling maintenance, and other operational tasks. As a result, many dealerships had to resort to manual methods, such as pen and paper, to continue business operations.CDK Global has been working to investigate the cyber incident but has not disclosed specific details about the nature of the attack or the identity of the attackers. They have assured dealerships that they are actively working to reinstate their services and return operations to normal as quickly as possible. However, as of the latest updates, there was no definite timeline provided for when full service restoration would be completed.

Why it’s important

The incident underscores the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, particularly in industries like automotive sales, which rely heavily on digital systems for daily operations. It demonstrates how a cyberattack can disrupt essential services, affecting businesses and potentially compromising customer data.

This helps Modern businesses, including car dealerships, heavily depend on technology to manage sales, customer relationships, and operational efficiency. When these systems are compromised, as seen with CDK Global, it disrupts normal operations and can lead to significant financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.

The outage necessitated dealerships to resort to manual methods, such as pen and paper, to continue operations. This highlights the importance of having robust business continuity plans and the ability to adapt quickly to unforeseen disruptions caused by cyber incidents or other emergencies.

Similar incidents include the SolarWinds attack that broke out at the end of 2020. The SolarWinds supply chain attack is a major cybersecurity incident. By tampering with SolarWinds software updates, hackers successfully implanted backdoors into the networks of multiple government agencies and enterprises, leading to widespread information leaks and system control.


Sissy Li

Sissy Li, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from Macau University of Technology and Science. Send tips to

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