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CDK's ongoing cyber outage hits car dealers in Canada, U.S. for 2nd day

A line of unsold 2024 Edge utility vehicles at a Ford dealership in Denver. A cyber outage at retail technology and software provider CDK entered its second day on Thursday, impacting automobile dealers in Canada and the U.S.  (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press - image credit)
A line of unsold 2024 Edge utility vehicles at a Ford dealership in Denver. A cyber outage at retail technology and software provider CDK entered its second day on Thursday, impacting automobile dealers in Canada and the U.S. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press - image credit)

A cyber outage at retail technology and software provider CDK entered its second consecutive day on Thursday, impacting automobile dealers in Canada and the U.S., the affected companies said on Thursday.

CDK briefly shut down all its systems on Wednesday, saying it was investigating a second breach that happened in the evening. CBC News reached out to the company for more information.

Spokesperson Lisa Finney said CDK would not be answering direct questions for the time being.

"In partnership with third-party experts, we are assessing the impact and providing regular updates to our customers," she said in a statement. "We remain vigilant in our efforts to reinstate our services and get our dealers back to business as usual as quickly as possible."

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As of Thursday afternoon, "hundreds of dealers" across Canada had been impacted, according to Tim Reuss, president and CEO of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association.

"At this point in time, there's no resolution timeline as of yet from CDK," said Reuss.

It remains unclear whether any customer or employee data was breached, he said.

The company provides software that is used to report all types of transactions made at the dealership, including the sale of a new or used vehicle, a service appointment or the sale of spare parts. Reuss described it as the "core piece" of a dealer's IT operations.

"When that system is affected ... a dealer is basically not able to operate in a normal fashion," he said.

Everything done with pen and paper in the meantime will have to be inputted into the system once it's back up, he noted.

Andria Zanchin, principal and executive vice-president at automotive group Zanchin, said the incident highlights "significant vulnerabilities for Canadian dealers."

"It is evident that companies such as CDK Global need to strengthen their cybersecurity measures and create a better incident response plan as it is crucial for all the Canadian dealers that rely on their services."

Privately owned vehicle dealer Holman also said the outage had impacted its phone system. Investment firm Brookfield Business Partners bought CDK in April 2022 for $6.41 billion US in a cash deal, taking the last major publicly traded provider of software to auto dealers and manufacturers private.