In early November 2023 [1] [3], Nissan North America (NNA) fell victim to a ransomware attack on its external VPN, leading to a data breach affecting over 53,000 current and former employees [7].


The attackers exploited unencrypted systems and files [2], gaining access to sensitive personal data such as Social Security Numbers (SSN), names [2] [6] [7] [8], dates of birth [7], pay information [2] [4] [7] [9] [10], and medical records [7]. A subsequent forensic analysis in February 2024 confirmed the compromise of Social Security numbers. While financial information remained secure, there is no evidence of misuse of the stolen data to date. Nissan promptly notified law enforcement and cybersecurity experts [3] [10], informing employees of the breach in December 2023 [10]. Affected individuals are being offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for two years. The attackers deliberately chose not to encrypt the data, potentially for evasion or leverage. This incident follows a previous breach at Nissan Oceania [9], where sensitive customer data on over 100,000 individuals was stolen. Ransomware attacks [1] [2] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [10], like the one on Nissan, are on the rise, exploiting vulnerabilities such as weak passwords or multi-factor authentication codes [10]. NNA has since bolstered security measures, including password resets and enhanced monitoring and vulnerability scans [5]. Experts advise against “smash and grab” attacks, advocating for measures like microsegmentation to slow down attackers and improve response time. Organizations are urged to implement access control lists, endpoint detection [5], backups [5], and adhere to the 3-2-1 backup rule to fortify against data breaches. It is estimated that up to 10% of individuals may have had their government identity compromised, with others having their personal information exposed.


The ransomware attack on Nissan NNA underscores the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures in the face of escalating cyber threats. While the breach did not result in financial losses, the exposure of sensitive personal data highlights the importance of proactive security protocols. By offering affected individuals credit monitoring and identity theft protection [8], Nissan is taking steps to mitigate potential risks. Moving forward, organizations must remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding data to prevent future breaches and protect individuals’ privacy and security.