The vulnerability of auto dealers to cyber-attacks is surprisingly higher than ever, and so are the costs. Some buyers have even vowed never to buy motor vehicles from dealers who have experienced a cyberattack in fear of losing their sensitive information to hackers.
Cybercrime thrives in virtually all industries, with the auto dealership industry no different. Lately, this industry has become an attractive target for threat actors as it collects, processes, and stores large volumes of sensitive, valuable customer information, including personal data, credit card details, banking information, and transaction details. All this information is stored within its Dealership Management System (DMS). In January 2022, Emil Frey, one of Europe’s largest auto dealership groups, was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack unleashed by the ‘Hive’ hacker group. Aftermath, the hacker group published over 220 Mb files on a document-sharing platform, including customers’ personal information.
But what exactly makes auto dealerships so susceptible to cyber threats? According to Erik Nachbahr, Founder and President of Helion Technologies, today's hackers leverage technically sophisticated tools to hit their target. And yet, many auto dealerships still run on obsolete technologies maintained by low-level third-party data security firms. While some auto dealership companies have confessed that their DMS system is accessible to vendors and internal systems, exposing this business to potential cyber-attacks via insider threats. Another issue is that auto dealerships frequently have inadequately trained personnel incapable of defending their data infrastructures against cybersecurity threats.
Recent studies have shown that only a third of auto dealership employees receive adequate cybersecurity awareness training. This means workers do not have the appropriate knowledge to identify potential cyber threats. This leads to most organizations succumbing to blackmail and opting to pay the demanded monies to save time, reputation, and system from irreparable damage. Meanwhile, hackers have become more intelligent; because they understand the language of reputation risk and how to leverage it to their benefit.
A study by CDK Global Inc, a popular automotive retail software vendor, shows that roughly 15 percent of auto dealership groups have encountered cybersecurity incidents in the previous year. Of those assaults, 85 percent of the incidents were caused by complex phishing attacks hidden as legit emails. These emails are designed to trick users into clicking them and implanting malware into computer systems and networks, disrupting IT systems and causing revenue loss. This trend of ever-growing cyber-attacks targeting auto retailers has forced business leaders to resort to hiring IT professionals, data security third-party companies, and Security Operations Centers (SOCs) to assist in security monitoring and managing the sheer volume of auto dealerships’ data.
Security Information Event Management or SIEM is a technology (software solution) that helps detect cybersecurity threats that would otherwise pass without being noticed. Fundamentally, SIEM technology collects and analyzes data from various sources throughout an organization’s IT architecture, including data from endpoint devices/systems, IDS, firewalls, and email security. On the other hand, the security operations center, or SOC, is a centralized function within a business that constantly employs IT personnel, procedures, protocols, and technology to monitor and enhance its security posture. A SOC is a correction hub for all events logged within a business being monitored. It will identify, analyze, prevent and respond to cyber-attacks.
SIEM and SOC are fundamental information security tools/resources required by auto dealers to identify potential cybersecurity threats, prevent cyber-attacks, and respond to assault instances. These will keep hackers and malicious actors from the organization’s computer systems and networks.
Generally, SIEM resources generate alerts and keep the logs that produce the alerts for comprehensive analysis. The alerts require humans to review them to verify whether they are authentic or not. Whereas human pundits within SOCs hubs can operate in absence of SIEM tools, they will be required to discern alternative methods of organizing the log information or flag important security incidents among the vast amounts of data. Combining SOC professionals and SIEM tools is the best solution.
For large industries and businesses, the traditional approach to information security can be tedious and hard to comply with obligatory industry protocols and standards. Modern SIEM tools can be helpful to SOC experts in prioritizing alerts and highlighting particular systems, devices, and activities. Also, SIEM tools cannot productively offer data security without SOCs. For instance, SIEM cannot ingest information from different endpoints as human experts need to work on various configurations to assist ingestion. Besides, SIEMs cannot recommend the right actions, so human security pundits must leverage their expertise to discern the most appropriate response.
It is clear that SOCs and SIEM work best when they are combined. Integrating the two solutions means reduced ownership cost, speedy deployment, easy access to IT security experts, reduction of insider threats, and removal of malicious activities executed by bad actors who attempt to tamper with IT logs unnoticed. A business will not only leverage the benefits from both SIEM tools and SOCs but also be empowered to reduce the dwell time of an attacker.
When SOCs and SIEM solutions are executed correctly in an auto dealership, the security teams are provided with on-demand information analysis, incident correlation, information aggregation, reporting, and log management. The security team has a birds-eye view into and statistics of their IT systems. With the proper execution and management of the combination of SOC and SIEM solutions, you have a great chance of preventing security breaches from occurring.
Many businesses/industries outsource their security solutions to achieve a more robust security posture they can get internally. This subcontracting of security services/solutions from other firms requires the business to consider outsourcing either SOC function, SIEM tools, or both. When outsourcing SOC solutions, a company needs a third party to check and respond to the log files and the alerts produced by the IT system. Alternatively, the business may manage its SIEM tools and forward the resulting alerts to a separate SOC. Leveraging a combination of SOCS and SIEM has numerous benefits, including:
Today, Managed security services providers are the best option to protect the organizations’ top investment, their data. Some MSPs and MSSPs integrate professional service automation (PSA) and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) to manage clients from a centralized point (hub). In addition, the more identification, protection, detection and response capability offered by MSPs and MSSPs, will result in better post recovery in case of an incident. Managed Service Providers (MSPs), manage dealership from a single platform and as a result, they gain cross visibility across all their customers base. Third party vendors that works with MSPs can guarantee efficient and cost-effective monitoring of their data infrastructure, resulting in auto dealers security and customers satisfaction. MSPs can integrate reputable and high-level SIEM vendors like Rapid7, FireEye, or Vijilan, and Splunk to untangle security challenges and ultimately thwart cyber-attacks.
The enormous increase in the sophistication and types of cybersecurity threats and their execution modes has driven solution vendors to devise threat-managed security services. Interestingly, some emerging cyber threats target managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs throughout the globe have been searching for ways to bolster their security and ensure that they have robust information security solutions instead of just utilizing the least costly data security solutions.
Businesses should make it simple for their MSPs to manage their holistic IT infrastructures by amalgamating their various security solutions, products, and vendors in a single security management platform. Consequently, business partners and customers won’t be overwhelmed by the tedious movements to different spots to manage various aspects of security deployment. This can be implemented in the auto dealership business, where the managed threat response offering will enable MSPs to get into or enlarge the existing managed security solutions. For instance, an auto dealership can hire managed security services from an MSP. One is Vijilan Partner Portal, a cloud-powered security firm that allows SIEM solutions to manage customers’ data from a single, central platform.
Cybercrime is here to stay. It is getting even worse. Studies have shown that the cyber industry is hit by ransomware attacks every 11 seconds. Nowadays, cybercrime is regarded as a fast-growing industry globally. In regards to a cyberattack, it is not an ‘if’ question but a ‘when’ question. As your auto dealership business grows, you need to develop more robust and advanced methods, techniques, solutions, and technologies to thwart cybersecurity incidents. What is the best solution? Hire managed security services to take full advantage of proactive and expert cybersecurity.
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