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Cybercrime warning as AM100 dealer groups suffer major attacks

Dealers must prepare for record levels of cybercrime in 2023 as a number of large retail groups suffer attacks amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Automotive technology firm Mad Devs is advising dealers to be on high alert and to work closely with their suppliers to ensure that security measures are in place and followed.

David Boyce, CEO of Mad Devs, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is driving a rise in cyber attacks on UK businesses. Dealers face a myriad of dangers, with ransomware attacks, data breaches, and online fraud all having the potential to impact operations significantly. We advise the industry to act by contacting their supply chain partners to assess what security measures they have in place and understand what steps are being taken to constantly enhance security.”

Arnold Clark experienced a cyber attack on December 23, which saw the retailer temporarily axe internet access to protect its customer data. Due to the disruption to its IT systems, Arnold Clark was unable to complete handovers of vehicles sold to customers before Christmas.

In October AM reported that Pendragon had become motor retail’s latest victim, who have reportedly issued a $60 million (£53m) ransom demand to the major AM100 dealer group.

That attack came just two months after Holdcroft Motor Group saw some of its core systems “damaged beyond repair” by a cyber attack.

A recent study by security experts CyberEdge found that in the UK, 81.4% of organisations had experienced at least one cyber attack in the year before the survey, compared to 71.1% in the previous annual findings.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, found that the most common threat was phishing attempts, which were experienced by 83% of firms reporting breaches.

Boyce added: “With the challenges of rising business costs, there is always the temptation to find cost savings in cyber security. But cutting corners in this area is a false economy and could have far-reaching implications for the viability of the business.”

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