In a digital age where cyber threats loom large, the automotive dealership industry finds itself at the forefront of a momentous event. Cyber attacks on car dealerships are on the rise, posing a significant challenge for professionals in the automotive sales industry. In this blog post, we’ll explore the alarming statistics, the reasons behind the targeting of car dealerships, and crucial preventive measures every dealership should consider.
The Disturbing Statistics
Reports indicate a surge in cyber attacks on automotive dealerships, with a staggering 90% of these retailers intensifying their cybersecurity efforts. Despite their confidence in current protection measures, 17% of dealerships experienced cyber attacks in the last year alone. This dichotomy between confidence and vulnerability underscores the evolving and sophisticated nature of cyber threats faced by the industry.
Regulatory Implications for Car Dealerships
Adding to the complexity is the recent mandate from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), stating that car dealerships must report a data security breach within 30 days of discovery. This requirement is part of the FTC’s safeguards rule, compelling non-banking financial institutions to notify the agency promptly. The stringent reporting deadline places added pressure on dealerships to fortify their cybersecurity measures.
Why Car Dealerships Are Prime Targets
Car dealerships house a wealth of customer data, making them prime targets for cyber criminals. From names and driver’s licenses to birthdates and social security numbers, dealerships store a treasure trove of sensitive information. Even customers who don’t finance a vehicle may have their social security numbers on record. The extensive data includes VIN numbers, license plate details, registration information, and even signatures. This abundance of information becomes a lucrative target for ransomware and identity theft.
Human Error and Customer-Facing Vulnerabilities
The customer-facing nature of car dealerships makes them susceptible to human error. In the pursuit of sales, dealerships often interact with a multitude of customers, sharing private information for various purposes, such as test driving a car. The ease with which customers are given information, access to Wi-Fi, or other services can create vulnerabilities that cyber criminals exploit.
Preventive Measures: Active Monitoring and Cyber Insurance
To mitigate the risks associated with cyber attacks, car dealerships are encouraged to adopt preventive measures such as:
1. Active Monitoring:
- Utilize third-party active monitoring services provided by cybersecurity insurance policies.
- Stay informed about evolving cyber threats and trends.
2. Cyber Insurance:
- Invest in standalone cyber insurance policies with higher limits.
- Ensure that the policy includes active monitoring to detect and prevent potential threats.
- Consider adding an umbrella policy for added protection.
The Role of Insurance and Best Practices
While IT departments play a crucial role, relying solely on them may not be sufficient against cutting-edge cyber threats. Insurance companies equipped with active monitoring can detect emerging threats and provide timely warnings. Whether through active monitoring or comprehensive cyber insurance, dealerships can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture.
Strengthening Defenses in the Face of Cyber Threats
As cyber attacks continue to evolve, the automotive dealership industry must remain vigilant and proactive. By understanding the unique risks and adopting robust preventive measures, dealerships can fortify their defenses against cyber threats. Whether it’s through active monitoring, cybersecurity insurance, or a combination of both, taking decisive action is key to ensuring the security of customer data, maintaining business continuity, and safeguarding the reputation of the dealership. Stay secure, stay informed, and protect your dealership from the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.