Data Breaches and the New Car Dealership

Private data breaches are nothing new and could even be considered common place in today’s digitally connected world. We’ve all heard about them on our nightly news feeds…. and some of us have even become unwitting victims of data breach scams. So what’s changed in this world of high-value data and the cat-n-mouse game being played by Hackers and IT soldiers?

Hackers are becoming more targeted in choosing their victims…. choosing them based upon their perceived customer demographic as well as their perceived lack of security. They’re looking at Car Dealerships very very hard these days.

How hard are they looking at dealerships these days ? Sonic and Asbury Automotive join a growing list of car dealerships that have been successfully breached by Identity Thieves.

Referencing an October 2014 article via Dealer Marketing Magazine – Scott Joseph wrote : ” Dealers may think that car dealers are less likely to be targeted by hackers but I would argue that , in fact , car dealerships would be gold mines for hackers. Not only do dealerships have credit card numbers , but they also have every piece of information anyone would need to essentially hijack a person’s life. The fact that there has yet to be a dealership breach reported in the national news might only be because news agencies focus on major breaches , or possibly it’s simply because hackers haven’t figured it out yet.”

Who get’s the blame when hackers successfully penetrate a business’s data ? Hint : It’s not the hacker .

Dealership owners and managers must realize that consumers do not hold hackers accountable for the loss of their personal information – they hold the business itself responsible. When Target Department Store was successfully breached and lost millions of customer’s personal information in December of 2013 consumers were outraged – at Target . Even after Target’s exhaustive investigation , successful conclusion to the breach and very public announcement to consumers that “the problem has been fixed” ….. consumers have not forgiven Target. Target finds itself in an uphill battle a year later to reassure their customers all while juggling a new level of scrutiny from the FTC .

What can a Dealership do to protect their customer data and by extension themselves ? Start by securing your network : Today’s gold-standard in network security is having a true Cloud based platform , Advent Resources Inc. , as an example , uses a route based VPN tunnel that’s fully encrypted at every stage. Each Advent Resources client has a private ” Data Tunnel ” between their store and Advent’s Cloud – with no outside accessibility at any point along the pathway.

THAT’S secure.

Ask your DMS provider for a comprehensive review of the Security Protocol for your store. Follow those “Do’s and Dont’s ” to the letter …. and always be aware. They’re watching you.