The digital age has brought about innumerable conveniences. Lightning-fast communication, instant banking transfers, and remote educational opportunities, just to name a few.
But the more people are connected to networking hardware, the more vital those connections and devices become. This means for thieves, the focus is on finding a way to exploit that need for their own personal gain.
With every positive comes a negative, in most cases at least. The rise of the internet age is no different, as viruses, spyware, and ransomware are well-known issues. The latter can be especially problematic – cyber criminals will lock up the connections and freeze up the devices people depend on to live, demanding money and information in exchange for returning them.
In the workplace, these issues are especially problematic. A day of downtime can cost some companies millions, and even sever some business relationships permanently. But these problems aren’t just in the industries people would expect. Sure, IT companies, banks, and credit check companies are easy targets – but no one is immune.
Even truck driving is a target. The freight industry, despite being one known for an old-school approach to hard work, has evolved steadily over the years. Even though America’s preferred freight modality in trucking often draws comparisons to frontiersmen, their rigs are decked out with everything from electronic hour-logging devices to telematic freight-tracking portals.
Experts had warned for a long time that cyberattacks could impact trucking. Then just several months ago, NotPetya leveled the IT systems of international ocean shipper A.P. Moller Maersk. That attack cost the company $250 million minimum and meant they had to replace thousands of servers, computers, and programs in a period of about 10 days to get back on track.
With their shipping information held hostage, the company had no choice. While the systems used by trucking companies are a bit different than those used by ocean shippers, the point remains the same – when networks are undermined and crucial data held hostage, ripples can go through the entire supply chain. That means carriers, receivers, and even the average consumer buying the products will feel the heat.
Robert Loya, director of operations at CMI Transportation, spoke about the growing problem, saying: “I know that we have always considered ransomware a threat. But I certainly think it is possible that other carriers maybe hadn’t considered it as much of a real menace than they previously did.”
Ransomware is a bigger issue for smaller companies than larger ones, despite popular beliefs to the contrary. It’s true that larger companies have more data and thus make for a bigger payday in the eyes of cyber criminals – they also have better security in most cases. Smaller companies, in contrast, are more prone to having the security holes in their system that are easier to exploit.
While there are many factors putting pressure on trucking, not all of them come in the form of demanding dispatchers or pesky potholes. Ransomware is a growing threat and one freight companies must prepare for.