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Why car dealerships are prime targets for cyber attacks and how to avoid them

Car dealerships have been targets of cyber attacks, the latest involving Braman dealerships in Florida, which experienced a system outage that affected operations. So how do you protect your operation and ensure sensitive information is kept safe? Joining us to discuss what you need to know about these attacks and ways to protect against them is Joe Saunders, Founder and CEO of RunSafe Security.

Saunders begins the conversation by talking about the dangers associated with automotive-related cyber attacks. Unlike fortune 500 companies and financial institutions, car dealerships often lack the level of security protections needed to protect valuable data. 

Car dealerships are a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals primarily because many don’t put cybersecurity protocols in place. This provides hackers with more access points to the operating systems than companies that have been traditionally targeted by cybercriminals. 

Car dealers must take into account all the valuable data their business stores in its system. Customer data such as social security numbers, date of birth, and account numbers can help hackers commit identity theft. If the system is compromised, hackers may also be capable of stealing car dealership financial information or infect the operating system with malware. 

“PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is extremely valuable to attackers,” said Saunders. “They can use that to open fraudulent accounts, to make purchases elsewhere, or to apply for loans.”

Saunders then discusses what car dealers should be doing to prevent cyber attacks. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is currently working with car dealers to offer resources that can help raise cybersecurity awareness. It may also be beneficial for car dealers to look into providing cybersecurity training for their employees. This will help non-technical team members learn what potential threats may look like when they are navigating the company network.

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