So Ya Wanna Buy A Car…
This year my 16 year-old finally got his driver’s license. He’s a responsible kid with a part-time job, so I decided to search online for a new-to-him reliable set of wheels. As I was doing my research, I was amazed about how much information was available. Almost everything I needed to show me the true price of the car and it’s features, was right in front of my eyes. It’s never been an easier time to buy a car, unlike years past when a local dealership was your best bet. However, these websites only give you a little bit of information. Each time I clicked on a good deal, they asked me for even more info, like my email and phone number, in order to unlock that last piece of really good information.
I know how these games work.
I always set up a stand alone email that I only use for these types of transactions. I would never give my work email or actual personal email because in a matter of hours your email will be filled with all sorts of ads and spam.
Set up an email account for your junk email and you’ll see how much spam traffic it gets.
Getting back to my car purchase, I went to one site to get information on a certain car in an attempt to get the best price. Shortly after I filled out the form, my junk email exploded with mail from a dozen car dealers all following up with me on my inquiry. I’m so glad I didn’t provide my true email or phone.
This past week, another massive data breach was announced where 198 million records of car buyers was exposed.
When I read this, I thought, “Who has 198 million records? It must be one of the big auto manufacturers who didn’t keep our information secure.” Much to my dismay, it was a marketing company who collected information for lead generation for auto dealers. The information contained names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers and sensitive financial information. It was all on the internet- exposed and not encrypted.
There seems to be a big disconnect between the Marketing Department, whose job is to generate leads for the sales department, and the Information Technology Department, which in many instances is in charge of keeping the information safe.
I’ve seen this happen in many organizations and it STILL continues. Think about it in your organization. Is your marketing and lead generation information being kept safe from the cybercriminals? Unfortunately these types of incidents are going to continue in the future if we don’t get a handle on the problem. Any organization, whether big or small, needs to have a cohesive understanding of all cyber-related tasks.
So the next time you’re browsing online for, well, anything- think about what information you’re freely giving out. And remember, always think before you click!