Cyberattacks are on the rise. In the first six months of 2019, the number of data breaches has increased by 54% compared to the same period last year. As of July, more than 4.1 billion customer records have been exposed in approximately 3,800 publicly disclosed data breaches.


If your dealership hasn’t already been targeted, chances are it will be. What can you do to prevent such attacks?


I’ve written previously about how a layered defense is the best approach. This includes:


  • Policies, procedures and awareness
  • Physical security: locks on server rooms
  • Perimeter security: networks
  • Host security: computers and servers
  • Application security
  • Data security
  • Cyber liability insurance
  • Human Firewall


In this blog, I’d like to talk about the last line of defense—the Human Firewall. Its importance cannot be underestimated. Your dealership can have an impenetrable technology defense, but your employees are the weak link and cybercriminals know it.


Most attacks these days don’t even target computer systems, they target employees. In fact, 91% of successful cyberattacks start with a phishing email. Of the 100+ billion spam emails sent out by cybercriminals every day, it’s estimated that one in 200 make it through spam filters and into email inboxes. That’s approximately 11,500,000 spam emails per day.


To ensure that your employees don’t click on these emails, or fall for other scams, you need to build a human firewall. Here are tips to include in your cybersecurity policy.


Provide Security Awareness Training


In states that have passed consumer privacy laws (such as California, New York and Ohio), this is now a legal requirement. Businesses subject to these laws must provide training to their employees.


In a security awareness training program, baseline testing is first used to assess the percentage of employees in your company that click on phishing links. Then, those employees are enrolled into an online training program. Once enrolled, employees are educated with videos, interactive games and training modules. Monthly phishing tests and benchmark reports allow you to gauge progress.


The training teaches employees how to spot suspicious emails, as well as best practices such as not downloading attachments or clicking links in emails, even if sent from a known source, without first verifying the email is legitimate.


The good news is, security awareness training programs are inexpensive and deliver a high ROI. Prior to security awareness training, in an average business 27% of employees open phishing emails. After 90 days of training, the risk drops to 13% and after one year of training, the risk drops to 2%.


Require Password Changes


Employees should create secure passwords for the applications they use and change them every 90 days. Never use the same password for more than one application, and never share or give login ID or password information to anyone. A password manager can help.


Prohibit Visiting Personal Websites at Work


Your corporate security policy should not allow employees to visit social media sites, online shopping or gaming sites at work. This isn’t about forcing employees to be more productive or spying on them; it's about your network security and financial health. Many phishing scams include links to fake websites, and many social media posts will lead unsuspecting individuals to similar sites. Viruses and malware are often disguised in ‘free’ applications or products for download.


Don’t Allow Personal Devices


If your employees are using their personal laptops and/or cellphones at work, that’s trouble waiting to happen. Unprotected mobile apps and web applications are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. When plugged into your network, these devices can easily spread viruses and malware.


Require Verbal Verification for All Wire Transfers


It’s OK to email wiring instructions, but every wire transfer should require verbal verification over the phone before the money is sent. It’s a common practice now for cybercriminals to pose as a dealer principal, GM, Controller, salesperson or other managers, and send emails to accounting staff with instructions to wire money into an account. I know of several dealerships that have lost a lot of money this way and once the money is wired, there is no way to get it back. In every scenario we’ve seen, a conversation would have immediately thwarted the attack.


Your employees are the last line of defense protecting your dealership from the increasing threat of cyberattacks. To keep your data, bank accounts and reputation safe, build a human firewall with employee training and new cybersecurity policies.

Views: 10


You need to be a member of to add comments!


Latest Activity

Doug Van Sach's blog post was featured
Sally Whitesell posted a blog post
Doug Van Sach posted a blog post
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

How Using Industry Jargon Can Cost You Sales

Mike Correra shares how using industry jargon with customers can cost your dealership sales.
John Sternal posted blog posts
Tim Duke's blog post was featured
Linwood E. Poissonnier posted a status
"You have to believe in what you’re doing, or actions won't work. Be sure of yourself"
Linwood E. Poissonnier posted a status
"I have been a member for a long time . Under Autonation Nissan and Brandon honda N.O.B."
Courtney Evans's blog post was featured
Eliana Raggio posted an event

FREE WEBINAR: How to Improve Your Follow-Up Today! at

November 21, 2019 from 12pm to 1pm
If your dealership is like most, your follow-up is either flawed, on auto-pilot, or completely…See More
Joe Tareen posted a blog post
Bill Wittenmyer posted a blog post

3 Strategies to Cultivate Enthusiastic and Loyal Fans

It costs most dealers about five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain those they…See More
Nov 11
Scot Eisenfelder posted a blog post

Auto Dealerships’ Online Shopping Experience Fail to Meet Customer Expectations, Affinitiv Study Finds

Predictive personalization key to matching precedent set by non-auto retailersChicago, IL—November…See More
Nov 11
Mike Esposito posted a blog post

Auto/Mate Wins “Best Places to Work” Award for 10th Straight Year

Albany, N.Y. – November 11, 2019– Auto/Mate Dealership Systems has been recognized as one of the 48…See More
Nov 11
Courtney Evans posted a blog post
Nov 8
Jim Flint posted a blog post
Nov 8
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

What You Shouldn't Overlook in Your Marketing Strategy

Mike Correra shares one important piece of an effective dealership marketing strategy that is most often overlooked.
Nov 7
Damian Boudreaux posted blog posts
Nov 7
Dan Beres posted a blog post
Nov 7

Get Newsletter

© 2019   Created by DealerELITE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service