Massachusetts Auto Inspection System Down Following Malware Attack

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated June 23, 2021

An undefined malware attack has taken down the vehicle inspection system in Massachusetts, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles tweeted to inform the public about technical problems with one of its vendors, Applus Technologies. According to the first statements, the stations will remain down until at least Sunday, and customers are advised to check on “” for any updates.

Applus Technologies states that the malware attack was detected and stopped, but Massachusetts' vehicle inspections were temporarily interrupted nonetheless. Possibly, the downtime is required for a thorough inspection of the network to ensure that every backdoor that may lie there has been uprooted. The firm also states that the law enforcement authorities have been informed accordingly and are aiding them in the restoration of normal operations.

In the meantime, the 60-day retest requirement and free retest will be extended for as long as required, so motorists have nothing to worry about concerning deadlines. As for the stations and the inspectors, the training will continue as scheduled, and the licenses will continue to be processed and renewed as normal.

The Applus Technologies website is up and running at the time of writing this, so we have no way to tell if this is a ransomware attack or something else. Also, we’ve seen no announcements on any of the known Tor sites where ransomware victims are listed. However, this does look like an attack of this kind, as Applus needs time to “fully restore the functionality of vehicle inspections” - so they could be restoring data from backups and gradually bringing their network back online.

Darrin Greene, CEO of Applus Technologies, stated the following on a local news outlet:

Unfortunately, incidents such as this are fairly common, and no one is immune. We apologize for any inconvenience this incident may cause. We know our customers and many vehicle owners rely on our technology, and we are committed to restoring normal operations as quickly as possible. We will continue to urge Applus Technologies to provide a timeline to resolution and confirmation of the extent of this nationwide system outage impacting citizens in need of a vehicle inspection and the small businesses who run inspection stations in Massachusetts.

We will update this piece as soon as we know more about the nature of the attack and the possible implications that it could have for the security of the data of vehicle owners, service station employees, inspectors, etc. Hopefully, we won’t have anything to report on that part.

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