PARIS -- Renault stopped production at several European sites today to prevent the spread of a global cyberattack that hit its computer systems, a spokesman said. Renault alliance partner Nissan also has been affected.
Renault said it has been monitoring digital operations at its factories since Friday evening, when the cyberattack was detected.
The attack affected computer operations worldwide, including at the Russian Interior Ministry, the National Health Service in Britain and FedEx in the United States.
Representatives at Renault's Sandouville plant, in northern France, told French media today that production had been halted there. Sandouville produces the Renault Trafic van and variants for other automakers.
The Sandouville representatives said that disruption would be minimal, as no full production was planned for the weekend. They said that technical teams were in place and that production was expected to resume on Monday morning.
A work stoppage was also reported at Renault’s facility in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, which produces the Renault Twingo and Clio small cars.
A spokesman for Renault confirmed that Sandouville and Novo Mesto were affected and said that the company was running diagnostic tests on its network to determine exactly which facilities might be affected. He emphasized that the work stoppages were “proactive.”
“We have taken action to stop the virus and protect the group,” he said, adding that it was too early to say when normal operations might resume.
The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation following the cyberattack, a judicial source told Reuters on Saturday. The probe covers "Renault and other possible victims," the source said.
PSA Group, Renault's French rival, was not affected, a spokesman said. However, Nissan's plant in Sunderland, northeast England, was hit, a spokesman for the Japanese carmaker said.
“Like many organizations, our UK plant was subject to a ransomware attack affecting some of our systems on Friday evening. Our teams are working to resolve the issue," said the spokesman.
He declined to confirm media reports that production at the plant, which employs 7,000, had been halted.
The plant produces the Nissan Leaf, Qashqai, Note and Juke along with the Infiniti Q30 and QX30.
On Friday, cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files.
Reuters contributed to this report