Computer worm hinders work at auto plants

Saturday, August 20, 2005

DETROIT -- A computer worm temporarily halted production at 13 of DaimlerChrysler AG's U.S. plants this week, but the company says the damage was minimal and it expects to make up the lost production.

General Motors Corp. also had some minor disruptions because of the worm but didn't stop production, spokesman Dan Jankowski said Friday.

The worm forced Chrysler to stop work on Tuesday at plants in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Delaware and Missouri, company spokesman David Elshoff said. The work stoppage ranged from five to 50 minutes.

Elshoff said Chrysler's technology staff spotted the worm and quickly patched the companies' computers. Elshoff said the effect on production was minimized because the worm struck around 3 p.m. EDT, when some plants were changing shifts.

"I think we're coming out of the woods now. We certainly have been on top of the situation since Tuesday," Elshoff said. "Computer security in this day and age is really, really critical to big companies."

Elshoff said Chrysler lost some production time but doesn't have a specific number of vehicles that were affected. He also said some auto suppliers were affected by the worm, but Chrysler hasn't seen any disruption in the supply of parts to its plants.

Jankowski said GM took action quickly and suffered only minor disruptions.

Ford Motor Co. also said the impact was minimal, but wouldn't say whether it affected production. Spokeswoman Valerie Rosnick said Ford typically doesn't comment on production for safety reasons.

DaimlerChrysler shares were up $1.38 to close at $51.14 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. GM shares were down 7 cents to $33.51 and Ford shares closed unchanged at $9.76.

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