Cybersecurity in the Trucking Industry

Freight delivery is one of the most essential parts of our economy. It’s also one of the most vulnerable.

The trucking industry faces cyber-attack risks daily, with many trucking companies and drivers not even aware they are being targeted by hackers intent on disrupting freight delivery and negatively impacting businesses across the country. The potential consequences can be devastating for both drivers and business owners alike.

Hacking Risks to Freight Delivery

In the trucking industry, cybersecurity is a growing concern. Freight transportation has become a multi billion dollar operation, and cyberattacks on freight delivery networks can cost these companies large ransoms and lost revenue. The trucking industry employs over 3.5 million people in the US alone, with an annual revenue of $791 billion. This massive commercial activity has made it a prime target for cyberattacks and ransomware schemes that can cost large losses to companies worldwide.

Hacking scams like phishing and ransomware are among the most common types of attacks on these companies today because they use email communications to steal sensitive information from their victims. A trucking company targeted by an attack risks losing freight revenue and customer service as well as possibly paying large ransoms to get access back to their data networks.

Ransomware: A Growing Threat for Trucking Companies

Even though the trucking industry has been an essential part of many industries since it began, hacking involves risks. Cyber attackers are using ransomware to hold hostage the data of trucks with valuable shipments of goods. These cyber terrorists are demanding a ransom for them to decrypt the information on the hacked computers. This is an alarming trend, especially for the trucking industry, which requires a lot of data to keep trucks moving efficiently.

Some of the largest trucking companies in North America disclosed cyberattacks in 2021. Forward Air recently experienced a ransomware attack that resulted in employee data exposure. The company declared $7.5 million in revenue loss in addition to a lot of other costs associated with the hack. For every incident that makes headlines there are many others that are never disclosed due to embarrassment by company executives who risk customer backlash and bad publicity. 

Marten Transport, one of the five largest refrigerated carriers in North America also confirmed that their servers were recently hacked. Attackers targeted the company’s backend operating system which was not connected to third-party service providers or suppliers.

A ransomware attack has also been detected by TFI’s Canpar Express, which greatly impacted its operations and resulted in major shipping delays and poor customer service.

The trucking industry is struggling with cyber security vulnerabilities that are increasing in number each day.

These cyberattacks are becoming more common in the transportation sector because hackers gain access to valuable data when they breach a company’s cybersecurity systems. Truckers need to be aware that these threats are real and must take every possible step to protect their data. Training employees on best practices and unusual network activity go a long way in prevention. 

Some security experts have suggested steps to help prevent this from happening, such as having a dedicated IT security team to ensure that no access is given to any third party.

Companies can also use firewalls and encryption methods when sending and receiving data over the web to keep their information private and secure. Some companies have even taken further precautions, like using two-factor authentication on their accounts to protect their data.

Ponemon Institute studies say 60% of companies without security patches have experienced some form of ransomware attack over the past two years. Ransomware victims average $1.85 million in damage costs and this number will surely increase in the future.

Trucking and logistics businesses are increasingly reliant on technology, which is why it’s more crucial than ever to safeguard these systems against cyber assaults. Freight transportation has evolved, and cybersecurity experts are trying to address these issues by providing freight delivery system cybersecurity protections that may reduce the likelihood of this problem. System backups, security software updates, data backups, network segmentation are all front line defenses that the transportation industry needs to look at more closely because ultimately prevention is the best defense. 

Cyber Insurers are fighting back by increasing premiums and requiring more diligent practices by their customers. Non compliant companies and those with poor IT infrastructures are seeing their coverage reduced or dropped altogether. The trucking industry has been slow to institute best cyber practices due to cost and slow adoption of best practices. 

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