Keeping Your Data Secure

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The list of companies and corporations that have fallen prey to data hacks in the last year is numerous – Target, JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot and eBay – just to name a few. These companies, along with millions of people throughout the world, find themselves dealing with the most sophisticated criminal in today’s society: the digital hacker.

Ten years ago, no one understood the financial profits one could achieve through hacking. As a result, digital hackers often hacked into computer networks for the simple pleasure of proving they could. Times, like technology, have changed, as today’s hacker’s hack for the same reason thieves steal: to take your money.

The last thing you want as an auto dealer is to be a victim of a cyber-attack. Not only could the hackers gain access to your bank account, but you could also face legal penalties for failure to protect sensitive client information.

As a result, it’s more imperative than ever that dealers take necessary steps to ensure that their data, as well as their customers’, remains safe in the digital sphere. Here are some simple tips that may help protect your data.

1) Don’t open/click suspicious looking file attachments
One of the newest trends in the hacking world is spear phishing, which is an email spoofing fraud attempt in which the hacker seeks access to confidential information. In some cases, the hacker will do extensive research on an individual to discover known acquaintances. With this information, the hacker will then send an email that looks like it’s from someone you know with an attachment or a request to click a link, which results in the hacker gaining access to your computer. Once the hacker has access, they can install a key logger to monitor your keystrokes in hopes of discovering passwords and other confidential information.

Therefore, if you receive an email from someone you know that looks even remotely suspicious, do not open it. Instead, contact the person directly to inquire whether or not they actually sent you an email.

2) Make sure your software is up-to-date
We have all received those annoying little pop-ups on our computer screen stating it’s time to update software. Don’t ignore this message! One of the functions of these updates is to patch security vulnerabilities that could compromise your system.

3) Don’t use the same password for every website
Say you had just one key that unlocked the doors to your house, car and office – and it was stolen. You’d feel pretty vulnerable, right? Using the same password on every website is along those same lines. If hackers gain access to that one password, they now have the keys to everything you do online. There are tools out there to assist in password creation. One free tool is LastPass, which generates complex passwords and remembers them for you in the future.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of cyber-crime. However, by following the simple safeguards above, you can help boost the protection around your data and keep it from falling into the wrong hands.