A Toshiba department stated that the company was hacked by the DarkSide ransomware organization, which concealed an announcement seeking a strategic review of the Japanese conglomerate under pressure from radical shareholders to seek suitors.
Toshiba produces barcode printers and other products, valued at US$2.3 billion (approximately Rs 16,860 crore), which was invaded by DarkSide.
However, it added that only a small amount of work data was lost.
Takashi Yoshikawa, senior malware analyst at Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Secure Directions, said: “There are about 30 organizations in DarkSide that have been attempting to hack the company. This time they succeeded in Toshiba.”
He added that during the pandemic lockdown, employees’ access to the company’s computer systems from their homes made the company more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
A screenshot of the DarkSide post provided by the cybersecurity company showed that more than 740GB of information was leaked, including passports and other personal information.
Reuters was unable to access DarkSide’s public-facing website on Friday. Security researchers said that multiple DarkSide websites have been suspended.
The demand and number of ransomware attacks are increasing. Hackers encrypt data and seek payment in encrypted currency to unlock the data. They will also increasingly release stolen data or threaten them unless they are paid higher.
Ireland’s medical service said on Friday that it had shut down its IT systems following the so-called “major” ransomware attack.
Investigators of the American colonization case said that the attack software was issued by DarkSide, which included Russian speakers and avoided hacking attacks on the former Soviet Union. DarkSide allows “members” to invade targets elsewhere, and then handle ransom negotiation and data release.
Toshiba said it was withdrawing CVC Capital’s $20 billion (approximately Rs 1,460,600 crore) privatization offer this year. Shareholders called on shareholders to clearly request potential bidders. Toshiba said it is establishing a strategic review committee and has appointed UBS as Financial advisor.
The review will be conducted by independent directors and is designed to help the board consider the new business plan proposed by the management before October.
CVC’s offer was strongly opposed within the company. Some believe that its plan to retain management is designed to protect former CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani from aggressive shareholders.
In the company’s Friday briefing, 3D Investment Partners and Farallon Capital Management, its second largest shareholder and its third largest shareholder respectively, criticized Toshiba for seemingly reluctant to consider a privatization proposal.
CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa responded that the company “is unwilling to consider various proposals to increase the company’s value, including privatization.”
Sources said that other private equity investors such as KKR&Co and Bain Capital are interested in Toshiba.
However, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Friday that Bain Capital did not consider acquiring Toshiba on the grounds that Yuji Sugimoto, head of Bain Capital’s Japanese operations, was interviewed.
Toshiba has been hit by accounting scandals, massive write-downs in the US nuclear business, and the sale of its chip division, which is a shadow of its former self.
But it is still one of the few nuclear power reactor manufacturers in Japan and produces defense equipment, which means that any sale requires government approval.
Toshiba predicted on Friday that due to the pain caused by last year’s pandemic and the implementation of restructuring measures, the company’s annual operating profit will increase by 63% to 170 billion yen (approximately 113.9 billion rupees) and rebound. Profits fell by 20% last year.
After Kurumatani resigned last month, Toshiba also nominated four new board members. Kurumatani came under fire because of allegations that investors were pressured to support the ideal board nomination prior to last year’s general meeting of shareholders.
Shareholders successfully voted for an independent investigation of these allegations in March, marking a watershed victory for Japanese corporate governance. The investigation will end before the annual general meeting on June 25.
The board nominations announced on Friday include former UBS banker George Olcott (George Olcott), who is also an independent director of Japanese beer maker Kirin Holdings.
Thomson Reuters 2021 ©