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Car dealerships are being disrupted by a multi-day outage after cyberattacks on software supplier

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Car dealerships are being disrupted by a multi-day outage after cyberattacks on software supplier
News

News

Car dealerships are being disrupted by a multi-day outage after cyberattacks on software supplier

2024-06-22 04:03 Last Updated At:04:11

NEW YORK (AP) — Car dealerships across North America have faced major disruptions this week.

CDK Global, a company that provides software for thousands of auto dealers in the U.S. and Canada, was hit by back-to-back cyberattacks on Wednesday. That led to an outage that continued to impact many of their operations on Friday.

For prospective car buyers, that may mean delays at dealerships or vehicle orders written up by hand, with no immediate end in sight. Here's what you need to know.

CDK Global is a major player in the auto sales industry. The company, based just outside of Chicago in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, provides software technology to dealers that helps with day-today operations — like facilitating vehicle sales, financing, insurance and repairs.

CDK serves more than 15,000 retail locations across North America, according to the company. Whether all of these locations were impacted by this week's cyberattacks was not immediately clear.

CDK is “actively investigating a cyber incident” and the company shut down all of its systems out of an abundance of caution, spokesperson Lisa Finney said Wednesday.

CDK “executed extensive testing," consulted third-party experts, and restored its core DMS and Digital Retailing solutions by the afternoon, Finney said in a prepared statement.

CDK experienced another "cyber incident” Wednesday evening, Finney said in a update the following day. “We remain vigilant in our efforts to reinstate our services and get our dealers back to business as usual as quickly as possible,” she said.

When that will be is still unknown. As of Friday morning, a recorded message from CDK on a hotline detailing updates for its customers said “we do not have an estimated time frame for resolution — and therefore our dealer systems will not be available, likely for several days.” Customer care support channels also remain unavailable, it said.

The message added that the company was aware of “bad actors” posing as members or affiliates of CDK to try to obtain system access by contacting customers. It urged employers to be cautious of any attempted phishing.

Several major auto companies — including Stellantis, Ford and BMW — confirmed to The Associated Press Friday that the CDK outage had impacted some of their dealers, but that sales operations continue.

In light of the ongoing situation, a spokesperson for Stellantis said that many dealerships had switched to manual processes to serve customers. That includes writing up orders by hand.

A Ford spokesperson said that the outage may cause “some delays and inconveniences at some dealers and for some customers.” However, many Ford and Lincoln customers are still getting sales and service support through alternative routes being used at dealerships.

With many details of the cyberattacks still unclear, customer privacy is also at top of mind — especially with little known about what information may have been compromised this week.

In a statement sent to the AP on Friday, Mike Stanton, president and CEO of the National Automobile Dealers Association said that “dealers are very committed to protecting their customer information and are actively seeking information from CDK to determine the nature and scope of the cyber incident so they can respond appropriately."

FILE - Vehicles sit in a row outside a dealership, June 2, 2024, in Lone Tree, Colo. Car dealerships across North America have faced a major disruption this week. CDK Global, a company that provides software for thousands of auto dealers in the U.S. and Canada, was hit by back-to-back cyberattacks on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE - Vehicles sit in a row outside a dealership, June 2, 2024, in Lone Tree, Colo. Car dealerships across North America have faced a major disruption this week. CDK Global, a company that provides software for thousands of auto dealers in the U.S. and Canada, was hit by back-to-back cyberattacks on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was convicted Friday of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum-security prison on charges that his employer and the U.S. government have rejected as fabricated.

The swift conclusion of the secretive trial in Russia’s highly politicized legal system could potentially clear the way for a prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington.

Gershkovich, his head shaved and looking thin, was calm as he stood in a glass defendants’ cage in the Sverdlovsk Regional Court. He listened impassively to the verdict but gave an occasional smile. When Judge Andrei Mineyev asked him if he had any questions about the verdict, he replied “No, your honor.”

After Mineyev finished reading the verdict, someone in the courtroom shouted, “Evan, we love you!”

Closing arguments took place behind closed doors and Gershkovich did not admit any guilt, according to the court’s press service. Prosecutors requested an 18-year sentence, but the judge opted for a shorter term.

“This disgraceful, sham conviction comes after Evan has spent 478 days in prison, wrongfully detained, away from his family and friends, prevented from reporting, all for doing his job as a journalist," Dow Jones CEO and Wall Street Journal Publisher Almar Latour and Editor in Chief Emma Tucker said in a statement.

“We will continue to do everything possible to press for Evan’s release and to support his family. Journalism is not a crime, and we will not rest until he’s released. This must end now,” the statement added.

Gershkovich, 32, was arrested March 29, 2023, while on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. Authorities claimed, without offering any evidence, that he was gathering secret information for the U.S.

He has been behind bars since his arrest, which will be counted as part of his sentence. Much of that was spent in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison — a czarist-era lockup used during Josef Stalin’s purges, when executions were carried out in its basement. He was transferred to Yekaterinburg for the trial.

Gershkovich was the first U.S. journalist taken into custody on espionage charges since Nicholas Daniloff in 1986, at the height of the Cold War. Foreign journalists in Russia were shocked by Gershkovich’s arrest, even though the country has enacted increasingly repressive laws on freedom of speech after sending troops into Ukraine.

Unlike the trial's opening on June 26 in Yekaterinburg and previous hearings in Moscow in which reporters were allowed to see Gershkovich briefly before sessions began, there was no access to the courtroom on Thursday when the trial resumed, but media was allowed in court on Friday for the verdict. Espionage and treason cases are typically shrouded in secrecy.

Russian courts convict more than 99% of defendants, and prosecutors can appeal sentences that they regard as too lenient. They even can appeal acquittals.

The U.S. State Department has declared Gershkovich “wrongfully detained,” committing the government to assertively seek his release.

Asked Friday about a possible prisoner swap involving Gershkovich, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday at the United Nations that Moscow and Washington’s “special services” are discussing an exchange involving Gershkovich. Russia has previously signaled the possibility of a swap, but said a verdict would have to come first. Even after a verdict, any such deal could take months or years.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel on Thursday declined to discuss negotiations about a possible exchange, but said: “We have been clear from the get-go that Evan did nothing wrong and should not have been detained. To date, Russia has provided no evidence of a crime and has failed to justify Evan’s continued detention.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted earlier this year that he would be open to swapping Gershkovich for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.

Lavrov on Wednesday reaffirmed the Kremlin claim that the government has “irrefutable evidence” against Gershkovich, although neither he nor any other Russian official has ever disclosed it.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, prosecutor Mikael Ozdoyev reaffirmed that Gershkovich was accused of gathering secret information about production and repair of military equipment at Uralvagonzavod, a huge industrial plant about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Yekaterinburg that manufactures tanks. Ozdoyev repeated the claim that Gershkovich was acting on instructions from the CIA and tried to conceal his action.

U.S. officials have dismissed this as bogus.

“Evan has never been employed by the United States government. Evan is not a spy. Journalism is not a crime. And Evan should never have been detained in the first place,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said last month.

Russia’s interpretation of what constitutes high crimes like espionage and treason is broad, with authorities often going after people who share publicly available information with foreigners and accusing them of divulging state secrets.

Earlier this month, U.N. human rights experts said Russia violated international law by jailing Gershkovich and should release him “immediately.”

Arrests of Americans are increasingly common in Russia, with nine U.S. citizens known to be detained there as tensions between the two countries have escalated over fighting in Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Moscow of treating “human beings as bargaining chips.” She singled out Gershkovich and ex-Marine Paul Whelan, 53, a corporate security director from Michigan, who is serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted on spying charges that he and the U.S. denied.

Since sending troops to Ukraine, Russian authorities have detained several U.S. nationals and other Westerners.

U.S. officials made an offer to swap Gershkovich last year that was rejected by Russia, and the Biden administration has not made public any possible deals since then.

The son of Soviet emigres who settled in New Jersey, Gershkovich was fluent in Russian and moved to the country in 2017 to work for The Moscow Times newspaper before being hired by the Journal in 2022.

Gershkovich had over a dozen closed hearings over the extension of his pretrial detention or appeals for his release. He was brought to the courthouse in handcuffs and appeared in the defendants cage, often smiling for the many cameras.

The periodic hearings gave his family, friends and U.S. officials a glimpse of him, and it was a break from his otherwise monotonous prison routine. But his mother, Ella Milman, said they also were a painful reminder that “he is not with us.”

Friends say that while he was in Lefortovo, Gershkovich was not allowed phone calls and was allowed out of his cell for only an hour a day to exercise. He usually spent the rest of his time reading books in English and Russian and writing letters to friends and family.

He relied on his sense of humor to get through the days, according to those close to him. From behind bars, he organized presents for friends on their birthdays.

As he entered his second year in captivity in March, Milman said he was “telling people not to freak out,” but she admitted the strain for friends and family was “taking a toll.”

The state prosecutor Mikael Ozdoev speaks to journalists after the court session inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

The state prosecutor Mikael Ozdoev speaks to journalists after the court session inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, second left, stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, second left, stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

FILE - This combination of photos shows Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich at the Moscow City Court in Moscow and the Sverdlovsk Regional Court in Yekaterinburg, from top left to right, on April 18, 2023, Sept. 19, 2023, Oct. 10, 2023, and from bottom left to right, on Dec. 14, 2023, April 23, 2024, June 26, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - This combination of photos shows Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich at the Moscow City Court in Moscow and the Sverdlovsk Regional Court in Yekaterinburg, from top left to right, on April 18, 2023, Sept. 19, 2023, Oct. 10, 2023, and from bottom left to right, on Dec. 14, 2023, April 23, 2024, June 26, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a courtroom inside the building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024. A Russian court convicted Gershkovich on espionage charges that his employer and the U.S. have rejected as fabricated. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a secretive and rapid trial in the country's highly politicized legal system. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Evan Gershkovich's lawyer Maria Korchagina walks inside the court building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, during the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Evan Gershkovich's lawyer Maria Korchagina walks inside the court building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, during the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Evan Gershkovich's lawyer Maria Korchagina, foreground, walks inside the court building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, during the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Evan Gershkovich's lawyer Maria Korchagina, foreground, walks inside the court building of "Palace of justice," in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, during the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

FILE - Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Court officials say closing arguments in the espionage trial of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich will be held Friday, July 19, 2024, as the proceedings picked up speed in a case that has seen the reporter held in pre-trial custody for over a year. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Court officials say closing arguments in the espionage trial of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich will be held Friday, July 19, 2024, as the proceedings picked up speed in a case that has seen the reporter held in pre-trial custody for over a year. (AP Photo, File)

The Lady Justice statue is seen through a traffic light atop of the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia Friday, July 19, 2024, ahead of the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

The Lady Justice statue is seen through a traffic light atop of the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia Friday, July 19, 2024, ahead of the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

People walk past the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Friday, July 19, 2024, prior to the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

People walk past the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Friday, July 19, 2024, prior to the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

A Russian Federal Bailiffs Service employee patrols around the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, ahead of the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

A Russian Federal Bailiffs Service employee patrols around the court building with the words reading, "Palace of justice," on the front in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on Friday, July 19, 2024, ahead of the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's suspected spying activities. Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

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