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Toronto, Ontario – A new report from the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) is reminding collision shop owners that adequate cybersecurity measures are no longer optional in today’s automotive environment.

“Cyber has many faces in today’s automotive industry and poses significant risks if left unchecked,” said Flavio Volpe, APMA president. 

“The reality is that now, more than at any other time in manufacturing, companies must safeguard their products, operations, and systems no matter the type of components, parts, systems, and assemblies they produce.”

According to the report, entitled “Canadian automotive cyber preparedness”, “cyberattacks on the automotive sector increased six-fold, while research indicates the industry stands to lose upwards of $24 billion USD over the next five years due to similar incidents.”

APMA is seeking to highlight the areas where shops could be exposed to cyberattacks, as well as some of the common barriers separating business owners from adequate cybersecurity measures.

Perhaps most shockingly, only 54 percent of responding organizations reported that they feel that they feel they are “protected to a considerable or great extent”, in regards to the security of what the report refers to as a company’s “digital crown jewels”; defined as “Mission-critical data, processes, services and systems that would cause major business disruption, if compromised.” This exposes the potential that many businesses could be virtually shut down should their cybersecurity measures fail.

In addition, the report shows that the problem is far more prevalent than one might think, indicating that 30 percent of organizations have experienced a cybersecurity breach in the past year.

70 percent of organizations report that they have not re-evaluated their cybersecurity measures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of the fact that, with spurring along from the pandemic, 78 percent of organizations report that they have staff working remotely.

The report identifies four main barriers that prevent businesses from adequately implementing a cybersecurity system. The first being a lack of cybersecurity specialists in the automotive industry who are able to apply the skills of cybersecurity to the ever-evolving world of vehicle data, for example.

The second barrier is the inability to identify and understand where an organization’s cyber vulnerabilities may lay. 

The third barrier is a lack of leadership support from people in upper management and board positions to spearhead concrete cybersecurity preparedness.

Finally, many organizations fail to recognize the return on investment when it comes to implementing cybersecurity measures.

The report concludes by saying that APMA does still see light on the horizon when it comes to spreading cybersecurity awareness and is calling on leaders across the automotive industry to do their part to promote cyber culture in the supply chain.

Article Credit to Collision Repair Magazine.

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