There are many pros when it comes to allowing customers to purchase cars online. There is an increase in efficiency, greater ease of organizing documents, and a potential rise in customer satisfaction due to the convenience. Nevertheless, there is an enormous threat that you may already have experience with: cybersecurity and fraud.

Cybersecurity company, Purplesec, found that cybercrime is up 600% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, over 18 million websites are infected with malware at a given time each week.

Therefore, while online interactions do bring convenience, they also enable the threat of attracting fraudsters and hackers who want to breach your database and steal customer information.

What steps do your dealership teams need to take to protect customers and dealership data? Below are some trends to look out for and tips to avoid these potential issues.

Secure those MacOS Computers

According to additional data compiled by PurpleSec, over the last year, MacOS malware increased by 165%. This statistic reveals that hackers are starting to understand Mac-specific vulnerabilities and have created strategies to breach these systems.

Therefore, if you are using any Mac-related technologies, whether it be smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops, it’s essential that you adequately protect these items. It would help if you began doing consistent security scans with Norton or McAfee tools—if you aren’t already— and always ensure that all company computers have the latest software updates.

Look Out for New State-mandated Standards

A recent Forbes article highlighted the passing of California’s Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act of 2020. This law includes legislation that holds enterprises accountable for protecting consumer data. It’s quite possible that other states could adopt regulations like this, primarily since COVID-19 has caused many different businesses to move processes online—increasing their vulnerability.

Your dealership can get out ahead of this by reading up on the California law and seeing how you can begin to implement some of the provisions at your dealership. The legislation includes standards that require businesses to allow customers to know the information that companies are collecting about them. It also mandates that customers can request that personal information be deleted.

Be Mindful of Potential IoT Attacks

As the emergence of 5G connections continues to make it possible for devices to speak to one another, your dealership must begin to understand how potential IoT attacks could impact connected cars at your dealership. From infotainment to car diagnostics, today’s vehicles are capable of unprecedented levels of data collection.

Resultantly, hackers will likely become bolder in seeing how they can manipulate these technologies—which can have a disastrous impact on the public. Therefore, you should start having conversations with manufacturers about protection protocols so you can educate customers.

Talk with Your Employees About Email

Emails are one of the most popular ways for malware to infect computers. Many times, this can happen when individuals choose to open or download email attachments. According to Symantec, the most malicious attachment types are doc. and dot at 37%.

It’s critical that you start training your staff about email safety protocols, including only opening attachments from trusted colleagues. They should confirm each attachment with the sender and use antivirus technologies to scan them for malware.

The Move Away from Passwords

According to Forbes, 71% of accounts are protected by passwords and used on multiple websites. The high usages of passwords have led to hackers engaging in credential stuffing. This involves developing bots to use exposed credentials to hack into all user accounts connected to those passwords.

Unfortunately, passwords are proving to become less of a viable option for securing consumer information. Consequently, you may need to start looking into other ways of verifying customers and employees. This can include tactics like facial recognition, live video detection, or verification through the use of government-issued IDs. These processes are ones that you may have to institute at your dealership for the long-term.

Final Thoughts

Cybersecurity and fraud will become more of an issue for all businesses, particularly auto dealers who are routinely storing and stewarding various forms of customer data. As more processes begin to move online, your team must put protocols in place to handle the troubling uptick of data breaches and theft.

Digital verification strategies, email protocols, and the establishment of state-wide standards are topics that you are likely going to have to navigate this year—and beyond. The sooner you create more strategies to handle cybersecurity issues, the easier it will be to stay ahead of the curve to protect your customers and employees.

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