Cybersecurity remains a hot button issue in the United States, raising the fear of attacks which compromise everything from personal identity to our government. Now more than ever, the trucking industry needs to improve its cybersecurity measures to protect revenue, logistics, vehicles, and drivers.

The Trucking Industry is Very Connected

Like it or not, the trucking industry is connected to a much larger world. GPS, smartphone apps, email, and electronic logging devices present cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The trucking industry must comply with federal regulations, and do business at a faster pace to stay competitive in a world that is embracing technology. Part of the trade-off for increased efficiency is the threat of cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity Threats Target Smaller Businesses First

We’ve written articles in the past about how some of the demand for capacity loads is being shifted to smaller fleets across the country. Unfortunately, smaller trucking businesses are considered easy targets for cyberattacks. Just like in other industries, smaller businesses do not have the capital to invest in airtight cybersecurity, so they become the most vulnerable.

Violations of Trust

Most cybersecurity threats count on truckers to be uninformed. Phishing emails are still the most popular method to get access to a trucking company’s back office. Yet attacks have become even more subtle. Fake text messages sent to phones with embedded links are designed to hijack personal and company information. Phone calls disguised as marketing, tech support, and even financial institutions are designed to scare or intimidate people into giving up information to correct a “problem” that doesn’t exist in the first place. This used to be confined to calls to private citizens so that cyberattackers could gain access to personal computers, but now the game has accelerated to target entire trucking companies.

Theft isn’t Always a Motive

While many cyberattacks are indeed about getting money, some are just done by people trying to “prove” their skills. The major cybersecurity threats can hijack entire freight loads by pinpointing locations or redirecting GPS tracking information. Some attacks mess with the data stored in electronic logging devices, to put truckers out of service “just for laughs.”

What Can the Trucking Industry Do?

Cyberattacks can seem scary, but there is quite a bit that can be done, without breaking the bank. The ATA recently launched its Fleet CyWatch which aims to inform truckers and fleet owners about steps they can take to stay informed about cyberattacks, how to prevent them, and what to do in case of a security breach. The service is a free benefit to all members. Fleet owners can hold seminars for their employees and teach them what to look for in suspicious emails, text messages, and phone calls. As always, and informed workforce prevents security threats at all levels.