Toyota's U.S. manufacturing company has accused a fired computer worker of cracking into its proprietary plans for parts prices and designs, downloading the information and sabotaging Toyota's internal computer software.
The automaker two weeks ago filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky., against Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed, a former information technology contractor of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.
As requested by the complaint, Toyota has been granted a restraining order preventing Shahulhameed from disseminating trade secrets or from leaving the United States.
"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," Toyota charges in its complaint.
Attempts to locate Shahulhameed for comment or get the name of an attorney representing him were un- successful. The complaint lists a Georgetown, Ky., address for him.
Shahulhameed worked for Global-Source IT, Toyota said.
Toyota manufacturing spokesman Rick Hesterberg said last week that Toyota continues to investigate the security breach and does not know yet what has happened with the confidential information, or whether it may have changed hands.
He declined to discuss any defensive responses Toyota may have at its disposal if material is leaked.
According to the complaint, Shahulhameed was fired on Aug. 23 and logged into the Toyota computer system around midnight that night. The complaint alleges that he stayed on the system until 6:30 a.m. the next morning, copying, saving and printing trade secrets.
Toyota's complaint accuses Shahulhameed of hacking into its toyotasupplier.com secure Web portal where Toyota and its suppliers exchange sensitive information on upcoming vehicle projects.
Toyota alleges in the complaint that Shahulhameed improperly modified 13 software applications on the Web site.