Toyota Italy accidentally leaked sensitive data

Toyota Italy accidentally leaked sensitive data for more than one-and-a-half years, until this March, CyberNews reported.

A Japanese multinational accidentally leaked access to its marketing tools, enabling attackers to launch phishing campaigns against its vast pool of customers in Italy.

Toyota Italy accidentally leaked sensitive data for more than one-and-a-half years, until this March. Namely, it exposed secrets for its Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mapbox APIs. Threat actors could abuse this information to gain access to Toyota clients’ phone numbers and email addresses and abuse them to launch phishing attacks.

Cybernews has reached out to the car manufacturer, and, at the time of writing, the dataset has been secured. The company said it took extra measures to strengthen its cybersecurity systems and protocols.

Exposed credentials

On February 14, the Cybernews research team discovered an environment file (.env) hosted on the official Toyota Italy website.

Toyota is arguably the biggest vehicle manufacturer worldwide, with over 370,000 employees and about $267 billion in revenue last year. In Europe, it directly employs more than 25,000 people, and operates eight manufacturing plants. While there’s no official data on how big Toyota is in Italy, the company has been present in the country for over half a century.

As per Statista, revenue for Toyota Italy is projected to reach approximately $1.8 billion in 2023, and vehicle sales are projected to nearly reach 83,000.

As per Cybernews research team, the company exposed credentials to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a provider of digital marketing automation and analytics software and services. Abusing the data, threat actors could access phone numbers and email addresses, customer tracking information, and email, SMS, and push-notification contents.

These credentials could further be exploited to send bogus SMS messages and emails, edit and launch marketing campaigns, create automation scripts, edit content tied with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and even send push notifications to Toyota’s customers.

“This leak is significant as it could have been used to launch somewhat sophisticated phishing campaigns, as attackers would have had access and control over Toyota’s official communication channels, making it more likely that victims would fall for such an attack, since the sender information would be legitimate,” Cybernews researchers said.

Toyota Italy also exposed software company Mapbox’s application programming interface (API) tokens, used to query map data. While the data is not as sensitive as the Salesforce Marketing Cloud credentials, threat actors might abuse it to query a lot of requests and rack up the cost for API usage for Toyota.

The environment file was first indexed by internet of things (IoT) search engines on May 21, 2021, meaning it had been exposed to the public for over a year and a half.

Toyota’s response

Immediately after Cybernews informed the company about the vulnerability, it took all the necessary actions to remedy the situation, which, according to Toyota, was caused by a failure to follow the company’s data-security policies.

“An additional set of countermeasures have been put in place to restore and strengthen our cybersecurity systems and protocols. We have reported this risk of exposure of privacy data to the relevant Italian authorities and are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation,” Toyota said.

It added: “Toyota takes this case, and cybersecurity in general, very seriously. We are taking this opportunity to learn from the findings to further upgrade the robustness of our cybersecurity systems and protocols to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.”

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About the author: Jurgita Lapienytė , Chief Editor at CyberNews

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Toyota)

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