Is your dealership prepared for a hack attack? One could make a compelling argument that the customer data owned by an automobile dealership is just as valuable as its inventory. Illegal scanning for online data is on the rise, but despite this fact, only about 5% of dealerships are adequately equipped to handle an attack.
If that doesn’t concern you, it should. Don’t think for a second that just because you may not be among the automotive giants you couldn’t be the victim of a hack attack. Truth is, it can make you an even bigger target because attacking a single dealership leaves behind a smaller online footprint.
Consider the following: industry experts believe it could cost an average of $200 for each record stolen from you. And if your dealership should ever happen to be infiltrated by a hacker, your company is potentially liable for any damages that might occur as a result. Further, customers were asked if they would buy from a dealership again if their information was compromised – and almost 85% said they would not.
This is just one example of what could happen: last year, two Ohio dealerships decided to make a transaction in which 20 SUVs would be sold by one store to the other. A hacker posing as a representative of the seller arranged for payment to be made via wire transfer. Believing they were sending it to the seller, the buyer disbursed more than $700,000 over the wire, which was intercepted by the hacker (that Google later tracked to Nigeria, where the trail then turned cold). None of the money was ever recovered and the buyer had to repay the funds because the seller never received them. Just like that; three-quarters of a million dollars gone in the blink of an eye!
Combating a Hack Attack
How do you get ready for hackers? An Internet security company can help you be as close to 100% protected as possible, but here are a few helpful tips. First and most obvious on the list is beefing up your security software – but it doesn’t stop there. Change important passwords frequently. Train your employees to avoid unauthorized software and put restrictions on what they are allowed to access online – because cyberattacks can happen through social media and even sometimes in e-mails. Some dealerships have also hired “white hat” hackers and asked them to attempt to access their network – to help locate and fix any areas of weakness they uncover.
When you stop and really think about it, a car dealership really is the perfect place for a hack attack. They have as much personal information on their customers as banks – and they’re a whole lot easier to hack into!
Surmising that a hack attack could never happen at your dealership is a dangerous gamble; one that simply is not worth the risk. Find out what you can do to become one of the 5% of dealerships well-equipped to withstand such an occurrence.
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