Toyota Sues Programmer for Sabotage

Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 01:08 PM gHale


Toyota filed suit against one of its former programmers saying he sabotaged web applications and security systems.

Toyota fired Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed last week and in an Aug. 24 complaint, Toyota said the former programmer sabotaged its computer systems at Toyota Motor Manufacturing.

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The Indian contract programmer attacked the system — crashing it in the process — and managed to download information that is “highly confidential,” Toyota said.

Toyota filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Lexington, KY.

“If this information were disseminated to competitors or otherwise made public, it would be highly damaging to Toyota and its suppliers, causing immediate and irreparable damage,” Toyota said in the suit. “The worker had no authority to access or use Toyota’s property or trade secrets and it is undisputed that he did access it and altered computer programs and codes.”

After dismissing him for unacceptable behavior, Toyota said Shahulhameed accessed the U.S. parts supply website portal toyotasupplier.com, manipulating three web applications and altering security certificates that caused system failure. After doing so, the programmer downloaded documents including pricing specs, parts and quality testing data. The company believes if this data falls into third-party hands, it could cause irreparable harm.

The complaint said it will “take days for Toyota’s IT department to determine the full extent of its damage as a result of the Defendant’s efforts to sabotage its system.”

The rapidly-filed lawsuit also includes a temporary restraining order issued from U.S. judge Karen Caldwell, banning the programmer from leaving the country while the investigation proceeds. Shahulhameed must also hand over all of Toyota’s property and data.

Toyota officials do not think Shahulhameed revealed sensitive company material.

“We are and will continue to investigate this thoroughly, but currently we do not believe that any supplier data or proprietary information has been distributed,” Toyota Spokesman Rick Hesterberg said.



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