Toyota sues programmer for 'sabotaging' computer network

Summary:Automaker Toyota alleges that one of its former programmers sabotaged web applications and security systems.

Automaker Toyota alleges that one of its former programmers sabotaged web applications and security systems, and has filed a lawsuit in reprisal.

Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed was fired last week by the corporation. In an Aug. 24 complaint, Toyota says that the former programmer sabotaged its computer systems at Toyota Motor Manufacturing.

The Indian contract programmer apparently attacked the system -- crashing it in the process -- and managed to download information that is "highly confidential".

The complaint was submitted to the U.S. District Court in Lexington. Toyota says within the lawsuit:

"If this information were disseminated to competitors or otherwise made public, it would be highly damaging to Toyota and its suppliers, causing immediate and irreparable damage. The worker had no authority to access or use Toyota's property or trade secrets and it is undisputed that he did access it and altered computer programs and codes."

After being dismissed for unacceptable behavior, Shahulhameed allegedly accessed the U.S. parts supply website portal toyotasupplier.com, manipulating 3 web applications and altering security certificates that caused system failure. After doing so, the programmer downloaded documents including pricing specs, parts and quality testing data. The company believes that if this data falls into third-party hands, it could cause irreparable harm.

The complaint says it will "take days for Toyota's IT department to determine the full extent of its damage as a result of th Defendant's efforts to sabotage its system."

The rapidly-filed lawsuit also includes a temporary restraining order issued from U.S. judge Karen Caldwell, banning the programmer from leaving the country while the investigation proceeds. Shahulhameed has also been ordered to hand over all of Toyota's property and data.

According to reports, the automaker's officials don't believe sensitive company material has been distributed. Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg said:

"We are and will continue to investigate this thoroughly, but currently we do not believe that any supplier data or proprietary information has been distributed."

Topics: Security

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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