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July 18, 2023

How Foreign Crime Exposures Affect US Companies

The world has become increasingly connected. Whereas this is often a good thing, it can also lead to new risks. Take crime as an example. The interconnected nature of modern commerce means crime in developing countries can cause risk management headaches for companies in the U.S. and other prosperous countries. This is especially true when it comes to cyber risk.

Foreign Hackers Can Hold Companies Hostage

In recent years, ransomware and other cyberattacks have been a growing threat for a variety of industries, especially manufacturing. According to the IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023, 24.8% of attacks in 2022 targeted the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing companies have a low tolerance for downtime. Hackers exploit this using extortion schemes, which accounted for 32% of attacks against the industry.

CNN explains that bringing cybercriminals to justice is complicated. For starters, it can be difficult to locate the groups behind the attacks. Many hackers operate remotely. When they’re operating out of different countries, U.S. officials require international cooperation to pursue them, which can take time and lead to more complications.

The problem isn’t just that many cyberattacks originate in foreign countries – it’s that some cyberattacks are carried out by state-sponsored hackers. In these cases, international cooperation is likely out of the question. For example, CISA says North Korean state-sponsored hackers attack healthcare and public health organizations with Maui ransomware. According to the 2022 Microsoft Digital Defense Report, nation-state actors have been launching increasingly sophisticated attacks. This included Russia-sponsored attacks connected to the war in Ukraine as well as attacks originating in other countries, including Iran and North Korea.

Cargo Theft and Modern Piracy

Piracy still exists – and not just in the sense of illegal downloads. There are still criminals who specialize in stealing cargo from ships. As cargo ships have grown larger, these heists have had the potential to be more costly. If your company relies on supplies or materials shipped from overseas or if you ship goods overseas, piracy could result in major losses.

According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre received reports of 115 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2022. This included 107 vessels that were boarded, five attempted attacks, two hijacked vessels, and one vessel that was fired upon. Some of these events were also violent: in 41 incidents, the crew was taken hostage; in six, the crew was assaulted; in another six, the crew was threatened; and in two, crew members were kidnapped.

Certain regions are more vulnerable to piracy than others. The ICC says 60 of the incidents reported in 2022 occurred in Southeast Asia, 24 in South America, 19 in Africa (Gulf of Guinea), and 10 in India.

Cyberattacks Threaten Ships

Although pirate attacks and cyberattacks may often be two separate issues, these risks are converging. Pirates today use modern technology, including cyberattacks designed to take control of ships.

As ships have become more high tech and autonomous, these cyberattacks are increasingly effective. Marine Digital explains that modern pirates rely on technology that lets them access the targeted ship’s systems. As a result, maritime cybersecurity has become a global concern.

According to Bloomberg, cyber pirates can hack onboard technologies that control a ship’s steering, propulsion, and navigation. This ability is a growing threat against global trade. In one incident that occurred in 2022, a freight-forwarding company experienced a targeted ransomware attack that hampered operations for three weeks and cost $60 million.

Managing Risk in an Increasingly Connected World

When managing risks, it’s not enough to focus on your own backyard. Events that occur on the other side of the world can create risks for your company.

Managing these risk is complicated, and the stakes are high. To survive in this modern, interconnected world, robust multi-faceted risk management is critical. Heffernan Insurance Brokers provides cyber liability insurance and many other coverage to help you navigate international exposures.

Tags:  cyber

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