Cyber Security Text

Cybersecurity in Trucking

Cybersecurity takes many forms and trucking companies need to be alert in order to stay ahead of the game. 

By Dana Smith

Have you ever heard the term, “cybersecurity?” Cybersecurity is the protection of data, information, computers, devices and networks from any kind of attack. Seems simple enough, but every year cyber attacks cost companies millions of dollars and a whole lot of stress. 

Have you ever taken the time to think about what would happen if your personal identity was hacked? What would you do? Who would help you get it back, or straighten it out? These are the many questions that would run through your mind. How stressful would that be for you, and how would it affect your life?

We often don’t think about these things on a day-to-day basis. We assume that everything will be ok, that the powers that be will have our backs, and have measures in place to deal with hackers and such. But do they really? Cyber attacks are real, and have far-reaching consequences for you and the businesses that you work for.

The trucking industry is no different. It is a massive industry that relies on digital platforms to store, and exchange information from one carrier to another: from load boards to management systems, to storing your personal information; electronic logging devices to GPS units, and engine diagnostic ports. It would only take one small hack or intrusion and both your and the trucking company’s information would be compromised. This could literally shut down the very business you work for. 

How do you know what to look for? What are the common threats?

  • Viruses, most people are familiar with these. A contagious program or code that attaches itself to your computer. 
  • Ransomware, which typically locks your computer or data until you pay. 
  • Adware and spyware which track your activities. 
  • Password cracking, your user accounts are directly accessed.
  • Exploits, which attack software that may not be updated.
  • Trojans, which launch attacks against other devices and systems.

There are a variety of things that you can do to protect yourself. Companies need to be on guard all the time watching for cybersecurity attacks. Protecting your company and your driving force should be a strong priority.

Here are some ways to keep both driver and cargo safe:

  • Have drivers contact dispatch regularly
  • Drivers should have cargo theft training
  • Use technology, such as GPS warning systems
  • Park in well-lit areas when stopping at night
  • Do not publicize or give out information about a load to anyone
  • Use ID systems for pick ups and drops
  • Monitor employees who have access to classified information
  • Drivers should be locking trucks when not in use and removing the keys

Remember that not all hackers are trying to steal data and loads. Some are just trying to cause confusion in the industry. How do you safe guard against someone who is not after the cargo? It would seem that they have no motive or reason for doing what they are doing, or do they?

This is why it is so important to put in place hardware and software protection to keep this from happening. Some of the main objectives of cyber criminals are to find out where the loads are and steal the cargo, to use a truck as a weapon, gain access to customers, prevent use of websites and IT systems, control data for ransom, use personal data for false identities, and/or to use the company’s infrastructure against them. So how does a trucking company keep this from happening to them, and your personal data? 

Here are some ways to keep your systems safe:

  • Train employees to use strong passwords
  • Encrypt important emails
  • Use antivirus software and patches for operating systems
  • Update software programs regularly
  • Always have back-ups to important information and files
  • Have a recovery plan in case something goes wrong
  • Stay ahead of the hackers by having regular meetings and updates with your IT department

Implementing some of these things could help save you a lot of time, money, and stress for you and your company. 

I recently had a company that I use to work for a number of years ago contact me. They said that they had a cyber attack on their IT data systems. This was possibly my personal information, along with a whole lot of other peoples’ as well. You can imagine my immediate reaction was panic and stress. Now there was a good chance these people had our personal information. No one knows what they could or would do with the information. Files were apparently copied and posted elsewhere. This was very concerning as you can well imagine. 

Of course this was taken very seriously by informing law enforcement and doing an investigation. Someone needed to take a look to see where the breach happened, and shut it down immediately. This is how fast it can happen, and without warning.

We all want to protect ourselves from this type of event, even the trucking industry. At the end of the day, whether it’s your personal information or that of your company, your systems and data are only as strong as your weakest link. 

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