Auto dealerships are vulnerable to cyberattacks simply because of the nature of the data they collect. Similarly to a financial institution, car dealerships collect, process, and store massive quantities of personal data, including everything it requires to assess credit and procure funding — the same thing criminals are interested in. Cloud-based storage options have helped dealerships leave behind paper forms and less secure storage options, but without proper controls, they can still be hacked or improperly accessed. Join us in today’s post as we shed some light on some potential security risks and how you can prevent them.

Insider Threats

We all hate to think that the people we employ are our biggest threat. But, time and time again, in nearly every industry, the criminals usually attack from the inside. This is not to say that you shouldn’t trust your team or that you should just do it all yourself, it just means that you should take an active role in safeguarding your client’s information, even from those who serve them. In the medical industry, HIPAA regulations mandate “need to know” sharing of information and outline specific details that can and cannot be shared and who and how information can be accessed. We strongly recommend that auto dealerships take a similar approach.

Using cloud-based storage and paperless systems help to reduce who has access to the information you collect. It can also allow you to place restrictions and track digital access, making it easier to identify those who are accessing information they have no business accessing. Cloud-based storage also helps you meet storage time requirements of information without it being physically on-site. This helps reduce the likelihood that older information can fall into the wrong hands or be compromised during a disaster.

Hacker Attacks

Car dealerships are not impervious to criminal cyber-attacks. Hackers are well aware that dealerships collect the information required to incur debt in someone else’s name and that they are a lot less secure than financial institutions. And, they are right. Less than 30 percent of American car dealerships utilize IT personnel and cyber protection services or software. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2019, there were nearly 39,000 reports of identity theft related to auto loans from information stolen from auto dealerships.

To prevent hacker attacks, it is important to protect your digital data and keep your software up to date. Having data encryption, access controls, and password protection in place, along with an IT team you can trust, all go a long way to protect you and your clients — which protects your reputation and bottom line. At VTech Dealer IT, dealership cybersecurity IS our business. Check out all the security services we offer.

Phishing Scams

Phishing attempts are used by criminals posing as dealerships to gain personal information. While this is not directly the dealership’s responsibility, nor is there a lot you can do to prevent it, it is good business to be proactive. Staying aware of the possibility of phishing attempts and monitoring for the misuse of your brand is just responsible. Making your clients aware of the potential and maintaining the highest level of security and integrity will help prevent issues and protect your reputation.

To help mitigate risk, you can add disclaimers like “we will never ask for personal information via text or email. Always talk directly to your point of contact.” And, then stick to it! Phishing scams rely on social engineering, so using your dealership social media as a platform to make customers and potential customers aware can help keep your dealership from being the star in scams. Additionally, effective IT support can help block viruses and malicious spam emails from coming into the dealership.

Eighty-four percent of people say that they would not purchase from a dealership known to have had security breaches, so more than an ethical responsibility to safeguard your client’s information, it directly affects your sales and bottom line. At VTech Dealer IT, we offer a wide range of IT services that include cybersecurity and digital data storage and protection. To learn more about how we can help you and your clients, connect with us online, or reach out to us directly.