The Look in Brief

Cyberattack strikes Bridgestone plants in Tennessee — and all of North and South America

By: - March 3, 2022 1:00 pm
The Bridgestone Americas building in Nashville. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Bridgestone Americas building in Nashville. (Photo: Getty Images)

UPDATE:

Bridgestone Americas officials said Thursday they have restored key internal systems at all their manufacturing plans over the last 24 hours in order to resume production, but “it will take some additional partial production days to securely ramp up full production.”

Meanwhile the company has “launched a comprehensive investigation to quickly gather facts while working to ensure the security of our IT systems” since learning of a security breach in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The cyberattack forced the global tire manufacturer to send workers home at plants across North and South America, including facilities in Tennessee. Bridgestone Americas is headquartered in Nashville.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we disconnected many of our manufacturing and retreading facilities in Latin America and North America from our network to contain and prevent any impact,” an emailed statement from spokeswoman Emily Weaver said.

“We are continuing to execute our robust business continuity plans and established governance process to do everything we can to minimize impact to our customers and teammates,” the statement said. “We will continue to work diligently to restart all operations efficiently and safely and to address any issues that may affect our operations, our data, our teammates, and our customers.”

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:

A cyberattack hit Bridgestone Americas, sidelining factories in South and North America, including Tennessee — though company officials declined to detail which plants or offices are impacted, how many workers have been asked to stay home or the extent to which its operations have been disrupted.

An emailed statement from a company spokeswoman on Wednesday said the company was “currently in the process of getting our systems back online in a safe and secure manner while continuing to investigate an information security incident that recently impacted operations.”

Reuters reported that Toyota suspended production at all 14 of its its Japanese plants on Tuesday in response to a suspected cyberattack at its supplier of plastic parts and electronic components. The wire service quotes Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as saying his government was investigating whether Russia was involved, in retaliation for Japan’s backing of economic restrictions put in place after the invasion of Ukraine.

“It is difficult to say whether this has anything to do with Russia before making thorough checks,” the prime minister told reporters.

Bridgestone, headquartered in Nashville, learned of the incident in the early hours of Sunday morning, spokeswoman Emily Weaver said via email.

Since then, “Bridgestone launched a comprehensive investigation to quickly gather facts while working to ensure the security of our IT systems. Out of an abundance of caution, we disconnected many of our manufacturing and retreading facilities in Latin America and North America from our network to contain and prevent any impact.”

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, United Steelworkers Local 1155L, which represents workers at a Bridgestone plant in Warren County, Tenn., posted on its Facebook page that most workers should stay home. By Wednesday, the posts were directing only workers in certain departments — such as maintenance and warehouse — to report to work.

The company also operates offices and plants in Nashville and in Rutherford and Wilson Counties.

The company is “continuing to execute our robust business continuity plans and established governance process to do everything we can to minimize impact to our customers and teammates,” the statement said.

“We are making progress on the investigation towards determining the scope and nature of the incident, and we will continue to work diligently to restart all operations efficiently and safely and to address any issues that may affect our operations, our data, our teammates, and our customers.”

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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.

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