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  October 10th, 2022 | Written by

Why Do Truckers Need to Care About Cybersecurity?

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Cybersecurity is a rising threat across all industries. Trucking may not seem like the most technologically advanced sector, so many truckers may feel like cybercrime isn’t a relevant risk for them. Despite these preconceptions, all trucking sector workers should take cybersecurity seriously.

Truck fleets today are becoming increasingly reliant on digital technologies. As this trend increases, cybersecurity will only become more important for the industry. Here’s why.

Cyberattacks Can Cause Major Damage

One of the biggest reasons to care about cybersecurity is because of how damaging cyberattacks can be. Small and medium-sized businesses pay $38,000 on average to recover from an attack and enterprises pay $551,000. That’s just the direct costs, too. Indirect losses and expenses total $8,000 for SMBs and $69,000 for enterprises.

As fleets become more reliant on digital technologies, data will be worth more, causing these costs to rise. That trend is already well underway, so truckers must take these risks seriously now.

Monetary losses aren’t the only way that breaches can cause damage in the trucking industry, either. The nation’s supply chains rely on trucking, so any disruption to fleet operations could cause widespread delays and complications. As connected vehicles appear in fleets, cybercriminals could even endanger people’s lives by hacking into internet-connected trucks.

Attacks in the Trucking Industry Are Rising

In addition to being destructive, cybersecurity incidents are also becoming more common. Cybercrime has steadily risen over the past few years and the transportation and logistics sector is becoming an increasingly popular target.

Shipping companies like FedEx and Maersk have lost millions to cybersecurity breaches. Cybercriminals know these businesses perform critical services and face high standards, so they can potentially profit more from a successful attack. Because most cybercrime is financially motivated, this chance at a bigger payday attracts more cybercriminals.

Hackers also like to target the trucking industry because it’s largely vulnerable. Fleets are rapidly digitizing but aren’t accustomed to protecting this kind of technology. As a result, cybercriminals have a higher chance of success, encouraging them to target more of these businesses.

Most Breaches Come From Employee Error

Truckers should also care about cybersecurity because they’re often responsible for successful attacks, not their technological defenses. This issue is the same across industries. Users are always a digital environment’s weakest link because, no matter how advanced technical protections are, someone with inside access can get past them.

While “insider threats” sound insidious, most of these incidents are just a matter of well-meaning employees making mistakes. Workers may use a weak password, making it easy to hack into sensitive information. Alternatively, they could fall for phishing, giving away important data or access to someone pretending to be a trustworthy source.

Technical safeguards are important, but they’re insufficient by themselves. When 95% of cybersecurity incidents involve human error, awareness and careful action from employees are just as, if not more, crucial.

How to Improve Trucker Cybersecurity

These trends make it clear: Truckers need to take cybersecurity seriously. Fleets that recognize this and want to improve their security posture can follow these steps.

Train All Employees Regularly

Given how much human error plays into breaches, employee training is one of the most important steps in trucker cybersecurity. All truckers and other workers in the organization should receive regular training going over the best security practices and threats to watch out for.

Emails are one of the most prevalent methods for online scams in this industry, so email security deserves special attention. Managers or IT staff should go over how to spot phishing emails and similar scams, as well as the consequences of falling for these schemes. Holding regular refresher courses and testing workers’ knowledge will help cement these ideas and good habits.

Limit Access Privileges

Even with regular cybersecurity training, good employees can still make mistakes. Consequently, trucking companies should limit their users’ access privileges as much as possible. If no one person can access everything, one breached account will have less impact.

Each user, device, and application should only be able to access what they need for their job. This concept, called the principle of least privilege, will minimize the damage if the business suffers a successful attack. Considering how common cybercrime is becoming, that’s an essential measure.

Practice Strong Password Management

Limiting access privileges is just half of a two-part process. If users aren’t who they say they are, restricting access to different accounts won’t do much. Consequently, truckers must also practice strong password management to prevent criminals from breaking into their accounts.

Truckers should use long, unique passwords with multiple character types to make them stronger against brute-force attacks. It’s also important to change passwords regularly, just in case one leaks in a data breach. Truckers should also turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever available, as it stops 99.9% of attacks, according to some experts.

Keep Everything Up-to-Date

Another important security step for truckers is to update all devices regularly. Devices like telematics systems and internet of things (IoT) trackers are becoming increasingly popular, but these can quickly give hackers a way in if fleets aren’t careful.

Cybercrime is always evolving, so software developers need to create new defenses and fix vulnerabilities continually to stay safe. Keeping everything updated ensures devices have the latest of these security protections. Truck fleets should also install anti-malware software and keep it up-to-date.

Have a Recovery Plan

Finally, it’s important to realize that no cybersecurity system is 100% effective. These attacks are too common and too potentially damaging for truckers to assume they’ll never suffer a successful attack. Companies need a formal recovery plan in case something goes wrong.

This recovery plan should include creating backups of crucial data and systems and a communication game plan. Truckers should also rehearse this plan regularly so everyone knows what to do in the event of a breach.

Cybersecurity Is Crucial for Trucking Companies Today

Cybercrime can affect anyone in any kind of company. While it may not seem like it at first, cybersecurity is crucial for truckers and the businesses they work for. Learning why to take security seriously is the first step toward better protection. If more truckers can realize these threats, the industry can become a safer place.

Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry.