Earlier this week, CDK Global was hit with not one but two massive cyberattacks. What is CDK Global you ask? Unless you work at an auto dealership, you’ve likely never heard of the company. But you probably have now, because CDK Global has a software suite used by nearly 15,000 dealers. And right now, those locations are virtually shut down.

That’s because CDK’s software manages pretty much every aspect of dealership operations. When customers stop in for an oil change or repairs, a service advisor logs into CDK to write up the repair order. Mechanics log into CDK to record time and make notes about the repair. Labor rates, parts, all of it goes through CDK. Depending on the location, employees even clock in through CDK software.

“I’ve been on the auto side since 2005 and this is the biggest headache that I’ve experienced,” said a parts and service manager for a Kia dealership who wishes to remain anonymous. Speaking to Motor1, he gave us a taste of just how bad it is for dealers that rely heavily on CDK Global for their operations.

“It’s every angle of the dealership. This is the software that techs use, and on the front end, the dealership’s finance group can’t sell a car. It’s everything you can do in a dealership. It’s even as simple as clocking in every day and collecting payroll for a pay period.”

Kia Dealership

The first cyberattack hit CDK Global on Tuesday, prompting the company to shut down its systems “out of caution and concern” for customers, according to cybersecurity news site Bleeping Computer. A second attack hit on Wednesday just as the system was coming back up, prompting another shutdown. As of Friday afternoon, CDK is still down and it could be days before things are back to normal.

Aside from service woes, the manager said new-vehicle sales are also stymied because the finance team can’t run paperwork.

“We could whip out some old forms from the 1990s and do everything by hand, but loan vendors aren’t accepting handwritten. I’ve heard some dealers are at least taking deposits to lock down a sale so they can finalize it when CDK is back up.”

In the meantime, dealers running CDK systems are doing the best they can.

“We’re handwriting clock-in times and writing up tickets for repairs,” he said. “On Wednesday we were talking credit card numbers down so we could process an oil change once the system is up, but we’ve stopped doing that. If it’s a big job, we’re still going to do it but smaller repairs, I’ve just been letting customers go. We have no prework orders; that’s printed through CDK. So a car comes into the service drive, you have nothing in front of you. You can’t create a ticket, you can’t look up anything.”

There is no word on where the cyberattacks originated, or when CDK systems will be back online.

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Last Update: June 21, 2024