Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

Written by Ethan Bernard

The summer doldrums are here. That means lazy days at the office, or behind the computer. Perhaps heading over to the water cooler to chat, maybe stare at a fly buzzing on a windowsill. There is work to be done, product to be made or shipped, but there’s no hurry. And around lunchtime, you hang that classic sign on the front door: Gone fishin’.

Yeah, right!

This year’s “summer doldrums” include a wild steel cycle, an ever-contentious presidential election, trade battles, unresolved M&As. And we haven’t even hit the July 4th holiday weekend yet. So while demand might not be so hot at the moment, there’s definitely enough heat elsewhere to keep things interesting. And as for that classic sign, in 2024 it’s much more likely to read “Gone Phishing.”

CDK Cyber Attack

Yes, these days I imagine the average company is going to be facing more problems from “phishing” for data than from employees playing hooky by taking off rod in hand on their way to the local fishing hole.

Now phishing is when a bad actor poses as a legitimate site, and then prompts you to click on something, enticing you to reveal more sensitive information.

In the case of the cyber attack on on software provider CDK Global, these bad actors went straight for the sensitive information. What kind of attack exactly is unknown, but like the previously mentioned actors, it’s bad.

What’s CDK Global? Well, around 15,000 auto dealerships rely on them for making sales, according to an article in CBS News: General Motors dealerships rely on CDK’s systems.

The attack started on Tuesday, the article said. And though some of the systems were up running later that day, CBS said that the systems were offline again on Thursday.

A USA Today story noted that a separate attack occurred on Findlay Automotive Group last week. The story noted that auto dealerships contain all the potential car buyer’s personal information. Now for your average cyber criminal, this is the kind of treasure trove you dream about. Just how much havoc can one wreak with a driver’s license AND social security number? Probably a lot.

Downstream troubles

Now, this isn’t the kind of thing that hits auto demand in one day. But… taking ~15,000 auto dealerships out of commission for any amount of time is not the kind of thing the steel industry needs. That is, especially doesn’t need in the face of falling prices and stagnant demand in some sectors. Hopefully, it will all be wrapped up soon, patched, and good as new.

Well, you, dear readers, are a smart bunch. And I’m sure our subscribers have their cyber security ducks in a row. Still, there are certain things you cant’ control for. Things you can’t hedge against because you don’t yet know they exist. That’s been the world we’ve been living in since 2020.  

As for me, I’m going to remain more philosophical about it. Technology is good. Except sometimes when it’s bad. And then they’ll invent something to make sure it’s good again. At least that’s the story that helps me sleep better. On second thought, maybe I’ll head out to Wal-Mart after work, and get me a rod. Break those stereotypes of the journalist behind the keyboard. Perhaps it’s time I learn to fish, no sign needed. Let’s bring back the classics.

Ethan Bernard

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