Former Toyota IT contractor accused of computer hacking, sabotage
A fired Toyota IT contractor has been accused of hacking into and sabotaging the company's internal computer software and system in a criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors in Kentucky.
According to the complaint, Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed, a former IT contractor for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., infiltrated the company's secure Web portal, toyotasupplier.com, and "knowingly causing the transmission of a program, information, code, or command" and "intentionally causing damage without authorization, to a protected computer" as a result.
The portal is a network Toyota and its suppliers use to share sensitive information on upcoming vehicle projects.
Shahulhameed, a resident of Georgetown, Ky., was employed by GlobalSource IT Shahulhameed when he was fired on Aug. 23. He later logged into the Toyota computer system around midnight that night, according to the FBI complaint filed in federal court in Lexington, Ky.
Efforts to reach Shahulhameed and his lawyer, Patrick Nash of Lexington, Ky., were unsuccessful.
Toyota employees said Shahulhameed's actions "caused considerable downtime or loss of functionality with a number a systems, impacting the toyotasupplier.com environment the most," according to the FBI's complaint, filed on Tuesday.
Several of toyotasupplier.com's internal applications "weren't working properly or went down for a number of hours," FBI Special Agent Adam Keown wrote in the complaint.
The impact on business operations was minimized with manual procedures, according to the FBI complaint.
"After completing our own investigation, we found no evidence that any company, employee or supplier information was distributed. We turned over our findings to the authorities and will continue to cooperate with them," Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg said in an e-mail today.
Toyota Motor Engineering Manufacturing North America filed a civil suit on Aug. 24 in federal court in Lexington, but dropped that suit after the FBI's filing, the Associated Press reported.
In Toyota's complaint, the company said he "sabotaged various internal programs causing entire network to crash, and potentially downloaded proprietary and confidential information for his own improper use."
Toyota alleged in the suit that it dropped that Shahulhameed possibly copied, downloaded and disseminated trade secrets and proprietary information, including pricing information, quality testing data and parts testing data.
After he was terminated, the company alleges that he later accessed the company's computer system and remained logged in until 6:30 a.m. the next morning, copying, saving and printing trade secrets.
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