Toyota says ex-IT worker stole sensitive information

The US division of Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has alleged that recently fired IT contract worker stole commercially sensitive information from the company.

Automotive News reports that Toyota filed a complaint with the US District Court in Lexington, Kentucky last week against former IT contractor Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed.

According to the filing, Shahulhameed was fired on August 23. That night, he logged into supplier website, the company alleges, and spent until 6.30am the next morning copying, saving and printing trade secrets.

In the complaint, Toyota claims that leaked information in the hands of the public or competitors would be ‘highly damaging’ to the company and its suppliers, causing ‘immediate and irreparable damage’.

It also claims that Shahulhameed tampered with 13 software applications on the supplier website.

Toyota manufacturing spokesman Rick Hesterberg told Automotive News on Monday that it is investigating the security breach and is unsure if the information has exchanged hands.

“We currently do not believe that any supplier data or or proprietary company information has been disseminated,” he told the news website, adding that it was too early to speculate on the matter.

Toyota has yet to confirm whether Shahulhameed accessed its computer systems by exploiting a vulnerability through the use of hacking, or whether he had used access granted by his previous role at the company to reset the system’s passwords to access information.

Indian national Shahulhammed has been issued with a restraining order preventing him from disseminating trade secrets or from leaving the US.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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