Manufacturers produce goods. Distributors ensure that these goods are available to the public. Retailers sell their wares to the consumer. But the glue that holds these three functions together is the trucking and other transportation companies. Without these fleets of trucks or other transportation equipment, none of the above mentioned will survive.
And now they are being targeted by cybercriminals who hold the transportation network for ransom due to carefully placed ‘malware’ inside a company’s software. Waiting to pounce and not only disrupt a legitimate business doing well, but making them pay a ransom in order to continue to conduct business. And serve their customers.
Could there be a worse (or more vulnerable) time for cyber attacks on the trucking industry? When transporting goods around the world are so critical to our existence and happening while Covid 19 takes its own toll on our lives?
According to Ben Barnes, McLeod Software’s Vice President of IT services and Chief Information Security Officer, “We didn’t see a lot of attacks in January and February (2020), but in March and April, the ransomware attacks have escalated in our industry, and we don’t know why exactly,” How this corresponds to the timing of Covid being declared a pandemic is anyone’s guess, although it’s thought that the immediate desperation of the supply chains raises the amount of ransom to new levels.
Effects of Ransomware
Also, according to Barnes, an attack by ransomware can lead to:
- The shutdown of your business for three days.
- Inability to dispatch loads.
- Unable to pay drivers.
- Conduct financial transactions of any sort.
- Be unable to use email.
“Companies that don’t have an incident response plan in place may be looking at one or two weeks of inactivity. The impact on the business can be severe and lasting.”
Cyber Insurance. Who would have thought?
Scott Hellberg, Director of Information security governance, risk and compliance for Sentry who is an insurance provider states, “How hackers use ransomware is evolving. At one point, ransomware was simply malware loaded into a phishing email.”
He also said that “cyber criminals are taking more of a shotgun approach without a specific target. The goal is to get the malware on as many networks as possible. Once the hackers have access to a network, they decide when to activate the ransomware.”
And finally, the encryption into a network allows them to sell the data to other cyber criminals, more than once, creating a pyramid system. And without the proper security in place, trucking companies can be attacked more than once. As a result, backup systems should be in place to prevent encryption. Once a company has been attacked, they are then required to pay a ransom in order to receive a ‘cyber key’ that will unlock the damage.