Malware attack on Applus blocked vehicle inspections in some US states

Pierluigi Paganini April 04, 2021

A malware attack against vehicle inspection services provider Applus Technologies paralyzed preventing vehicle inspections in eight US states.

Applus Technologies is a worldwide leader in the testing, inspection and certification sector, the company was recently hit by a malware cyberattack that impacted vehicle inspections in eight states, including Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The attack took place on March 30th, in response to the infection the company was forced to disconnect its IT systems from the Internet to prevent the malware from spreading. The company did not reveal the type of malware that infected its systems, but experts speculate the involvement of a ransomware attack.

“Unfortunately, incidents such as this are fairly common and no one is immune,” said Darrin Greene, CEO of the US entity, Applus Technologies, Inc. “We apologize for any inconvenience this incident may cause. We know our customers and many vehicle owners rely on our technology and we are committed to restoring normal operations as quickly as possible.”

The company will spend some time to fully restore the operations and continue the vehicle inspections, at the time of this writing it has yet to provide a timetable. According to the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV), inspections will likely be suspended at least for another couple of days.

“Due to the enhanced technology and programming required to operate the program, it is imperative that we ensure every component of the program is free from malware, thoroughly tested and operating normally before bringing the program back online. The testing process will involve all of our agencies as well as the station owners who own and operate the computerized workstation equipment used to perform the motor vehicle inspections.” continues Applus Technologies.

“We will routinely update the return to service status as additional information becomes available. It is important to note that we want to make sure we have resolved all issues before restarting the system in order to avoid any additional delays or inconvenience once the program is back up and running.”

The Applus team is collaborating with the DMV providing frequent updates on the status of the incident response, it is also working with the DMV on the 60-day retest requirement and free retest policy to extend both during this time.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Applus Technologies)

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