Hackers have caused a lot of sleepless nights for a lot of people and the aviation industry is no exception. In fact, given the dollar amounts of many transactions, aviation is becoming more and more attractive to people with less than stellar intentions. You may have had your lawyer or your broker or your lender start requiring verbal confirmation of wire instructions. Those same professionals may have started using only encrypted email services. Still other professionals have added two-step verification. All of these “extras” may be annoying and feel like overkill and, sometimes, even seem like they are slowing things down. Time kills deals and everyone knows that, so why all the extra steps?
Well, did you hear about the lawyer whose email got hacked and no one knew? The hackers got into the lawyers email, sent wire instructions to the client and then deleted the email from sent items AND blocked the client’s email address. So no one knew the wire was sent to some one-off bank account in some country not affiliated with the transaction. Or, did you hear about the hacker that set up a similarly named escrow company, spoofed the escrow company and was magically in possession of the deposit?
I can go on, but you get the idea. Hackers are creative. The way we industry professionals protect you is to take these extra precautions. So, the next time your broker calls to verbally verify wire instructions; or the lender requires encrypted email; or your lawyer requires that all communications flow through her office, understand that there is a reason. We want the transaction to go smoothly for you and we want what you bargained for, not what some creative hacker wants.