Airforwarders Association - FORWARD Magazine, Spring 2021

22 AfA Special Features Forward Magazine Q Spring 2021 Airforwarders Association Jason Palumbo Marketing Specialist Roanoke Trade W hen ransomware strikes, business stops. You may be in the middle of writing an email or arranging a shipment or paying a bill when your familiar screen disappears and is replaced by an ulti- matum: pay up or lose your data forever. A typical ransomware screen might inform you that your system’s data has been encrypted and to get the key to unlock it, you need to pay a ransom — usually in the form of bitcoin. Ransomware notices will also include a timeframe to pay, maybe in the form of a clock counting down to the second that your payment window closes, and your data is destroyed or distributed across the web. A unique and particularly malicious form of cyberattack, ransomware has become a widely distributed threat in the last several years, targeting businesses and organizations of all sizes in all industry sectors including the transportation and logistics industry. Ransomware attacks against logistics service providers can be particularly insidious as they not only compromise the data of the LSP but also that of your clients and partners. What Is Ransomware? Ransomware is a money-making scheme utilizing malicious software, or malware, that encrypts a business’s computer data and makes it inaccessible to its rightful owner. Criminals demand a fee to be paid in order for the data to be unencrypted and available. Like other types of malware, ransomware is a computer program that may be installed through deceptive links in an email message, instant message program, via a removable drive or device or through unprotected widgets, plugins or other entry points in a website. This malicious software is like an in- filtration unit that sneaks into your computer and sets up shop. Once it’s there, it runs like any other program installed in the system. Most recently, bad actors have upped their game utilizing a double-extortion ran- somware tactic. They demand a ransom payment to decrypt the stolen data and another payment to keep that data private. If the ransom is not paid within a speci- fied timeframe, the criminals threaten to publish the data for all to see or reveal it to a competitor or industry segment. The High Cost of Ransomware In addition to a shift in the disruptive tactics used by cyber criminals, a 2020 study performed by NetDiligence reveals that the average amount of ransom demand has steadily increased over the last few years — from $26,000 in 2016 to $72,000 in 2018. The highest ransom demand was for $1 million. The costs involved in this type of cyberattack go way beyond the ransom demand itself and can also include significant related expendi- tures, such as loss of income, recovery costs and crisis management. Today we operate in a digital work environment. When a system is down or data is inacces- sible, most companies, including logistics service providers, are unable to perform crucial business operations. In fact, more than half the total cost of a ransomware event is attributable to business income loss, according to NetDiligence. Many ransomware incidents aren’t publi- cized, particularly when a company pays the ransom, because of the fear of stigma, yet it’s important that logistics providers CYBERSMART BUSINESS — DON’T BE HELD FOR RANSOM