Exporters and Importers at Risk of Cyber Attacks

The most common targets for hackers and cyber-attacks are small to mid-sized businesses. Freight companies, warehouses, and import and export businesses are no exception. Today more sensitive and personal data is stored in the cloud than ever before and a data breach can cost a company millions of dollars, as well as impacting negatively its reputation.

The highly visible ransomware attack on Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) in December 2020 serves as an example of these vulnerabilities and shocking aftermath. While the ransomware attack on Forward Air could happen to anyone, broadly speaking such attacks are often preventable.

Another major cyber attack in the shipping industry took place in September 2020 when France-based CMA-CGM was hit to the point that the company had to disable its entire core IT systems.
But not only trucking companies or ocean carriers are at risk but all the players in the supply chain. On Oct. 1 last year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said in a statement that it has suffered “a sophisticated cyberattack against the organization IT’s systems” that brought down several of IMO web-based services.

Understanding Security Risks

In today’s digital age, every industry is at risk for a cyber-attack and should work to mitigate cybersecurity threats and protect their data. The transportation sector in all its modes should stay abreast of common cyber risks that have been facing their counterparts and stakeholders. In a recent survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), 38% of logistics companies indicated they had unresolved problems surrounding cybersecurity and protecting data. These are some of the most common unresolved problems:

  • New Technology: As the digitization of logistics tools and supply chain management continues to increase, transportation and logistic companies need to implement next-generation risk management to fend off cyberattacks. Supply chain networks are vastly interconnected. The interconnectivity of digital tools are easy targets for cybercriminals and leaves industries open and vulnerable to attacks. Consulting with a cybersecurity expert before adding a new digital tool to your company’s toolbox can help providers to better understand the risks and what precautions should be taken.
  • Lack of staff training: Employees without security training can become extreme liabilities to any industry. The security of information and company assets can be easily leaked by staff who are not aware of cyber threats or who don’t know how to recognize them. Attackers will often seek out employees through phishing emails, that can download a malware-laced attachment onto the employee’s laptop, computer, or cell phone. Employees who have not been trained on cybersecurity could easily, and unknowingly give hackers access to confidential company data. Training all employees to know how to recognize something suspicious and how to alert management, is a primary defense against data breaches.
  • Weak Risk Management: As global trade continues to become more widespread and complex innovative approaches to risk management are being developed. Companies that are leaders in the supply chain such as Cisco, Coca-Cola, and Bayer have begun to take leading-edge approaches to risk management, including integrating Enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) into their S&OP processes.

Fending off Cyberattacks

When it comes to the importance of cybersecurity, no manager or logistics worker wants to be responsible for giving hackers access to sensitive company data. Partnering with cybersecurity experts, developing a strong risk management strategy, and training employees are simple steps fleets and logistic providers can take to safeguard their data. Also, companies of all sizes must carry a cybersecurity attack insurance policy that can help palliate some of the costs associated with such attack.

At Promptus, we are here to provide worldwide shipping and cargo logistics solutions. We aim to protect our company from any cyberattacks to ensure that our client’s information remains secure. For more information on our services and how we can best help your business with your importing and exporting needs contact us today.