Helion Technologies warns auto dealerships not fall victim to sophisticated system hackers. Larger businesses have systems in place to protect themselves, so those hackers are going after smaller companies like dealerships
Timonium, MD (PRWEB) November 11, 2011
Helion Technologies warns auto dealerships not fall victim to sophisticated system hackers. Larger businesses have systems in place to protect themselves, so those hackers are going after smaller companies like dealerships.
Today's sophisticated customers want and expect interactive technology when shopping for cars, says Erik Nachbahr, President and Founder of the Baltimore-based Helion Technologies. Helion is a 70 employee Managed Information Technology provider for auto dealerships. Helion supports more than 17, 000 computers for more than 450 dealerships nationwide, and has been supporting dealerships for the past 12 years.
“This means businesses need to have wireless access in customer lounges, be accessible by email, text, and have a strong web presence. The business model dictates that each employee desk and service-bay, have computers,” Nachbahr said. “But if those do not have secure systems in place, the dealership is vulnerable.”
Dealerships Must Invest
“Unfortunately many dealerships that don’t grasp technology, put themselves at severe risk. They view IT as a nuisance, expense, a waste of money and a distraction from the main goal—selling vehicles, says Nachbahr. “As a result their systems are lackluster, unsecure and costly to maintain.”
Dealerships have grown their computer systems haphazardly over the past ten years, with virtually no security systems in place making them a hacker’s bonanza. There appears to be little knowledge on how to create a stable and secure IT environment. Staff training is one of the areas that has to be addressed. Employees have to be well versed in operating credit card machines in a manner that does not put the customer at risk. Secure passwords are often left out in the open. Companies need to embrace the idea that security is important and stop being resistant to change. PC’s present another security concern: users have the ability to install software, modify the system at will, end users can choose to install or not install patches and remove antivirus applications, and virus or malware attacks are pervasive and difficult to control in environments where everyone has access.
Too often dealerships are not mindful of the systems that can protect them. Helion’s found that antivirus or antimalware protection is not installed on all PC’s.
“They sometimes have let their subscriptions to these programs expire, don’t keep them updated or managed. This leaves them completely unprotected from malware threats that get increasingly more sophisticated every day,” Nachbahr says. “In addition, wireless technology goes unmonitored and companies are left vulnerable to encryption. Dealerships are using residential grade equipment. Often, customers are connected directly to the dealership corporate network for internet use.”
First, dealerships and their employees must make security a priority, Nachbahr says. This means stressing the use of passwords and discouraging the practice of downloading files or games on work computers. Dealerships also need to have managed antivirus systems in place and audit PC’s to ensure compliance. It’s also important to separate customer internet, or guest wireless device and service from the business wireless systems. Dealers need to make sure that all wireless is Cisco and using WPA-2 Encryption, Nachbahr says. Also, it’s a good idea to employ a wireless firewall system to secure all wireless zones, he added.
Knowing vulnerabilities, changing corporate culture to think security and employing systems, will help dealerships avoid being taken to the bank. It happened to Green Ford of Abilene, Kansas, and it can happen to other dealerships if they are not proactive. A hacker tapped into the dealership’s business accounts and funneled money out using a fake employee created in THEIR system. As a result 63 thousand dollars was taken from the dealership’s bank accounts. Register online for Helion's free technology assessment at http://www.heliontechnologies.com.
About Helion Automotive Technologies:
Helion Automotive Technologies was formed in 1997 with the goal of bringing strong Information Technology strategies and leadership to businesses of all sizes. At Helion we offer dealerships short term IT fixes for what you need now, and long-term IT solutions for what lies ahead. We've provided IT solutions for dealerships across the country for more than a decade and when it comes to dealer IT systems, we've been there done that-better than anyone else and are here to help.
We can make sure your IT systems are well managed and provide solutions for your IT headaches. We are not just any tech company; we are the tech company for auto dealers. It's all we do.
Helion Automotive Technologies
1965 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093