Man talking(l+r), Car dealership(c)

Mazur Travel/Shutterstock @realbrianmello/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘The one employee who opened the link’: Viewers divided when expert reveals cyberattack has ‘paralyzed’ more than 15,000 dealerships across the country

‘I guess that’s karma’


Beau Paul


Car dealerships nationwide are still reeling from the June 19 cyberattack on tech company CDK Global. The tech company provides software to thousands of dealerships across the country and is only now beginning to restore services.

Automotive news reporter Brian Mello (@realbrianmello) took to his TikTok account on Tuesday to provide an update and emerging new details to his viewers. The video has gone on to garner over 1.7 million views and counting.

“We now know that this was or is a ransomware attack, and the group behind it goes by the name Black Suit, a cybercrime organization believed to be located in Eastern Europe,” Mello claims.

“According to Bloomberg, Black Suit has demanded tens of millions of dollars in ransom payment from CDK Global in order to get their systems back online,” Mello tells his viewers. “A ransom that CDK is planning to make.”

“Hopefully, the systems will all be back online by the end of this week,” Mello speculates.

“As of today, dealerships across the country are still trying to navigate the issue. They’re still offline,” Mello states.

“Bought a car on Saturday…they did it old school. Wrote everything out lol,” Tim Currie (@tim_sells_brevard) confirmed in the comments section of the video.

Another viewer seemed to call out the company’s cybersecurity, citing a hypothetical “one employee that opened the link.” The dig seems to be in jest, however, and the Daily Dot could not find evidence that the attack involved a CDK employee opening a malicious link.

“This has been terrible. I have been hand writing every ticket. But when CDK comes back we will have to take 3 days just to bill out parts!!” another viewer added.

Despite the negative effects of the attack, many of Mello’s viewers were less than sympathetic.

Jake (@jakewlzek17) wrote, “This is amazing. They haven’t released anyone’s personal info. They’re specifically targeting the company itself. Love to see it.”

“They should keep it up honestly. force dealers to reduce markups.” a second viewer wrote.

Another viewer commented, “I guess that’s karma after all the jacked-up sticker prices over the last 3 years.”

Mello noted in his video, “This is not just dealers feeling the hit [of the attack]. Many body shops are unable to locate and acquire parts needed to fix vehicles. Third-party facilities, well, they’re in the same boat. Banks can’t finalize loan documents.”

“It’s all still quite the headache for basically anyone in the industry,” he concludes.

The Daily Dot has reached out to CDK Global via email for a statement.

@realbrianmello Dealership Cyberattack Update! | #dealershiplife #dealership #cartok #autonews ♬ original sound – Brian Mello

Speaking to CNN regarding the attack, Ryan Callahan, general manager of a Seekonk, Massachusetts, Mazda dealership said the effects of the attack will be felt for some time regardless of any fix.

“The financial impact it will directly have on us will take months to correct if not years,” Callahan told CNN.

Tom McParland, the owner of national car-buying service Automatic Consulting, pointed out to CNN that the attack also adversely affects car buyers.

“It reduces their ability to get a deal,” he said. “It limits the customer’s leverage.”

“McParland suggested casting a wide net and shopping outside their local market to find the best price,” CNN states.

According to CBS News, “Ransomware attacks are on the rise. In 2023, more than 2,200 entities, including U.S. hospitals, schools and governments were directly impacted by ransomware, according to Emisoft, an anti-malware software company.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Mello via email and TikTok direct message for further comment. 

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