By Emily Newton, Editor-in-Chief at Revolutionized Magazine
Logistics organizations must address critical cybersecurity gaps to defend themselves from increasing threats. This can be challenging since there are so many variables and moving parts to keep track of. Frequently, employees themselves pose a security weakness.
However, organizations must understand and respond to logistics cybersecurity gaps. Cybercrime continues to increase every quarter, and logistics may be a prime target for hackers. Here’s what to look out for and what leaders can do to take action.
Logistics Cybersecurity Risks
Logistics has its own unique cybersecurity challenges. Many industries are advancing and adopting new technologies, and keeping up with necessary security measures can be challenging. There are a few main risks at play for logistics organizations today.
1. High Value Targets for Hackers
Logistics can be a more high-value target for hackers than many other organizations or departments. They have a higher chance of getting the payout they want or simply wreaking havoc.
This is because logistics departments, organizations, and infrastructure manage many important things that would be at serious real-world risk if systems or data were compromised. Sensitive cargo needs to be monitored. Communications and routes need to be managed and updated.
Hackers that use ransomware in a logistics department know they have more leverage than they would if they breached something like a toy manufacturer. The same trend can be seen in the rising number of cyberattacks on government institutions around the U.S. As a result, logistics organizations may be at higher risk of being targeted by attackers.
2. Lack of Awareness
People cannot practice security habits they don’t know about. Lack of awareness is one of the most common cybersecurity gaps across virtually every industry today. Many workers simply aren’t aware that certain habits or behaviors can leave them and their employers vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This leads to things like opening phishing emails, using weak or copied passwords or working on a device with no security features. Hackers will take advantage of people who have their
guard down like this. In fact, it’s estimated that 91% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email. All it takes is one unsuspecting employee.
3. Vulnerable Security Structure
Even if a logistics organization has cybersecurity measures in place, they may not be as extensive as they should be. For example, if any user account can access sensitive information, hackers will have an easier time getting access. Similarly, data might not be stored in a way that offers defense against breaches. Segmenting is key for minimizing the blast radius of any successful attacks.
This applies on a workplace culture level, as well. Organizations that don’t set clear standards, regulations, and expectations can fall victim to the risks of employees’ personal cybersecurity habits. This includes allowing workers to use unsecured personal devices or not having clear password policies.
4. IoT and Increasing Technology
Technology itself can increase cybersecurity risks. New tech and devices are often great for improving efficiency, visibility, and productivity, but they can sometimes create new security gaps.
For example, some logistics software programs offer helpful features like the ability to track shipments in detail throughout their route. This information is extremely useful for providing crucial data to logistics organizations. However, if it is not well-secured, hackers could potentially use that information to plan a cyberattack.
Industry experts have also pointed out that IoT devices tend to have weak default security features. Sometimes this gap can be filled by simply changing settings, but it may also be a deeper design flaw. Organizations that choose new partners or devices to work with must be extremely careful to ensure they tie up all the loose ends in securing those technologies.
How Logistics Leaders Can Take Action
Considering these key logistics cybersecurity gaps, what can organizations do to shore up their defenses? Concrete tactics can go a long way toward improving logistics cybersecurity, both technically and culturally.
1. Run Cybersecurity Training
One of the simplest steps in improving cybersecurity is running a security training program for employees. The human element is arguably the most important one. Small actions like clicking on a malicious link can open the door for a hacker to launch an attack on an organization.
Logistics organizations with limited experience or expertise in cybersecurity can teach basic best practices in training sessions.
2. Bring in an Expert
Studies have found that only 43% of trucking and logistics companies have a chief information security officer. This needs to change if the field is going to stand up to today’s cyberthreats. Bringing in a trained cybersecurity expert can make a monumental difference, even if it is only for a security analysis or testing.
These professionals can spot weaknesses and vulnerabilities that might otherwise go unnoticed. They can also provide guidance for each organization’s unique logistics security needs and technologies.
3. Establish Clear Regulations
Clear security standards are a big part of creating a company culture that prioritizes cybersecurity. Logistics organizations must ensure they are doing everything possible to keep hackers from getting inside their systems. Employees are the first line of defense. Companies need to set clear regulations about password management and the use of personal devices.
4. Choose the Right Tech and Keep It Secure
Logistics cybersecurity is only as strong as an organization’s devices and programs. Companies must be careful about what devices and technologies they choose to trust with their data in today’s security landscape. This includes everything from employee laptops to IoT order tracking sensors.
Devices that are confirmed to be trustworthy and reliable must be defended adequately. This includes everything from installing antivirus software to implementing strong login technologies like multifactor authentication. Organizations also need to maintain a strict schedule for updating security software and all other programs they use.
Staying Secure in Logistics
Logistics organizations face many cybersecurity challenges today, but they aren’t insurmountable. A clear understanding of the key risks at hand allows companies to chart a clear path forward and improve their security. Training, strong access management, secure software and hiring in-house expertise can make a crucial difference.
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief at Revolutionized Magazine. A regular contributor to Brilliance Security Magazine, she has over four years of experience writing articles in the industrial sector.