Transport & Logistics Sector

Security challenges facing the transport and logistics sector

  • Transportation was the 5th most cyber-attacked industry in 2016

  • The modernization of the transport sector is often ad hoc

  • A lot of new technology in the transportation and logistics industry

  • With enhanced connectivity come a greater level of risk

  • Cyber-security is a vulnerable space in logistics

  • Your employees are an easy entrance

 

Transportation was the 5th most cyber-attacked industry in 2016

Because of its relatively weaker security infrastructure, it is an easy target for hackers. When we look at the global picture, over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by the international shipping industry. In 2016, merchant-vessels moved $1.5 trillion of cargo through US seaports. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that international shipping operations generate about $380 billion just in freight rates, equivalent to about 5% of total world trade. The world’s airlines also carry around 50 million tons of freight annually. Including passenger transportation, aviation industry contributes over $660 billion to global GDP. Now, we have an idea of where transportation stands in our economy.

 

The modernization of the transport sector is often ad hoc

Like many industries, the modernization of the transport sector is ad hoc, unplanned and builds on mature technologies and processes which have never had to take cybersecurity into account. Hence why cybersecurity awareness in the sector is often low, and now is the time for professionals to act and develop best practices for new solutions large and small.

 

A lot of new technology in the transportation and logistics industry

There are plenty of examples of the impact technology is having on transport and logistics: haulage fleets are able to increase fuel efficiencies using real-time telematics and GPS data; ports are digitizing their processes to streamline the flow of goods; shipping companies are being pushed to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in order to provide more visibility into their cargoes by the likes of Alibaba and Amazon, firms which thrive on the collection of big data. Several governments are now testing the potential for using trackside infrastructure to provide 5G access to the internet for rail passengers and on-board systems while traveling.

 

With enhanced connectivity come a greater level of risk

All of these connected technologies promise great benefits, but they also bring challenges around cybersecurity. Systems which were previously isolated from network attacks are being exposed to internet-related threats, and potential attackers are relentless in their determination to find weaknesses to exploit across any attack surface they can find.

 

Cyber-security is a vulnerable space in logistics

Data security is the number one aspect of cyber-security. And, unfortunately, we receive constant notifications of data breaches and reports of high-dollar ransomware these days. Protecting proprietary and customer information is critical for shippers. And avoiding cybersecurity threats in logistics presents complex problems. But do not be tempted to put your head in the sand. While you cannot just turn off the internet, it is possible to isolate the threat to minimize your loss, when an attack happens.

 

Your employees are an easy entrance

Surprisingly, the security risks caused by their own employees are usually ignored by the companies. For example, only 12% of maritime crew in the world had received any form of cyber-security training. In addition, only 43% of the crew were provided a cyber-security guideline for the personal use of IT systems on vessels. We should train our employees on how to recognize cyber-attacks and implement policies on computer hardware usage. We should always remember that cyber-security is not only about protecting our data but protecting our reputation as a secure service provider as well.

Sources:

MTS Logistics  I  Securityweek  I  Evans Transportation