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Internet Extortion Hits Auto Body Industry

At AASPI’s 2017 Annual Meeting & Business Forum one shop owner told the story of his recent encounter with internet extortion, whereby cyber thieves gained control of his company computer and held it for ransom. For more than a week the shop had absolutely no access to its company information, including backups. Estimates could not be written, repair cycles interrupted – complete shut down for an entire week. Once the ransom was paid in bitcoin the cyber thieves provided the decryption codes to get their system back up. The cost between the ransom, upgrading computer software to hopeful stop a future attack and loss of business amounted to $1000s.

AASPI has been in contact with the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) division of the FBI. IC3 said that ransomware is frequently delivered through spear phishing e-mails to end users. Our member shop who experienced this crime now has a company wide policy that no employee can go on unauthorized websites or correspond via emails to non-business activity. Click Here to download the FBI’s two page Ransomware bulletin.

Annual Meetiing & Business Forum

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASPI) held its 2017 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Lisle, IL on March 25th. At that meeting body shops and part suppliers were present for a full day of programming that included the topics of Telematics, Pre-Post Repair Inspections by General Motors, Aluminum Repair by Ford, panel discussion on the future of the industry, legislative update on the 100th General Assembly and internet extortion. Featured speakers included  Katy McQuiston from the Auto Care Association, Jerry Tempel from A.C. Delco/G.M., Todd Gillette from I-Car Wisconsin, AASPI lobbyist Brian Wojcicki, Joe Mayer of Mayer’s Collision Center, Bob Gottfred of Erie-LaSalle Body Shop, Jim Watson from ABC Auto Parts & Sales and Dan Galvin of Galvin Consulting LLC.

AASPI wants to thank the Hawk Auto Group for their assistance in getting our speakers from Ford and GM and for their sponsorship of our TV door prize won by Jeff Kallemyen.  In addition AASPI wants to thank UFG and Nicoud Arthur Gallagher Insurance agencies for being our luncheon sponsors. Roger Boswell from UFG gave an update on their AASPI endorsed dividend program for garage liability and workers’ comp programs.

AASPI held an election and the following people were elected to the Board of Directors:

President: Mike Mattson, Accidental Auto Body

Vice President: Bob Gottfred, Erie-LaSalle Body Shop

Sec./Treasurer: Doug Fiala, Douglas Auto Body.

Overwhelming response from shops and suppliers alike thought this event was one of the best ever.

Legislative Advocacy

AASPI contracts with the most recognized and well respected lobby firms (Cook-Witter, Inc) in Springfield to represent our interests to the Illinois General Assembly. In each two-year cycle the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate look at nearly 10,000 pieces of legislation. Monitoring this legislation to insure bills unfavorable to the automotive repair industry do not get passed, is in of itself a full-time job but in addition to that AASPI’s legislative agenda includes passing legislation that improves the wellbeing of the industry.

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