TIMONIUM, Md. — In a free e-book released this week, Helion Automotive Technologies addressed the growing number of cyber-attacks on U.S. auto dealerships.

The publication — “Don’t Get Cyber-Clobbered! Cyber Crime Happen to Auto Dealerships Without Warning. Are You Prepared?” — shares recent data and examples on hacks that threaten customer data at auto dealerships. The e-book also presents a series of good, better and best security defenses auto dealers can implement.

"One cyber-attack that successfully steals customer information from a DMS database can cost a dealership anywhere from one hundred thousand up to a couple million dollars," said Erik Nachbahr, president and CEO of Helion. "Dealers are struggling with security because the types of threats that exist are so numerous and change so rapidly that it's almost impossible to keep up."

Cyber-attacks often occur when an outside entity hacks through the dealership’s perimeter network, according to Helion. Outdated equipment, insufficient firewall protection and weak connections are the main culprits. Some hacks are also the result of a dealership employee inadvertently granting access to a cyber thief, the company estimating that 11% of insider attacks are committed by malicious employees.

"Many dealers have not made security a top priority; it's one of those things that isn't a problem until it's a problem ... and then quickly becomes a nightmare," said Nachbahr. "The goal of this e-book is to convey what a serious and growing threat this is, and to help dealers prevent the nightmare."

To download a copy of Helion’s e-book, click here.