The Importance of Cybersecurity in Freight Logistics

With the growing risk of cyberattacks, it’s becoming more important to have a reliable cybersecurity system in place. Read our post here for more information.

15 June 2022      

It’s no secret that we live in a world that’s powered by technology and everything is interconnected. And this includes the freight network.

Technology has brought significant, positive change to the freight industry. From the internet of things to predictive analytics offering real-time data about the location of goods in the network, it’s making freight easier and more seamless.

But like all technology, it brings with it some challenges. One of these challenges is making sure that the technology that runs your freight is secure from hackers.

With the growing risk of cyberattacks against businesses throughout Australia, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a reliable cybersecurity system and procedures in place to protect your freight, and your customers.


What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice of making your freight technology secure from cybercriminals who would try to access the data within your technology system in order to steal information or wreak havoc in your business.

While there’s no way to completely eliminate cyberattacks on your supply chain, putting in place appropriate cybersecurity measures will reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to your system to steal and sell valuable data, damage your hardware or software by installing a virus, or lock you out of your system so they can hold you to ransom.


Why Cybersecurity is Important in Freight Logistics & Supply Chain Management

If you can’t dispatch your goods to your customers, then you don’t have a business.

One of the greatest risks to your freight in the event of a system breach, that you won’t be able to move your freight. Orders will become backlogged and you won’t be able to get your freight out the door.

In the last three years, we’ve seen several serious cybersecurity breaches in the Australian freight network and the breachers are increasing, both in terms of their frequency, and their level of impact.


What are the Biggest Cybersecurity Risks for the Freight Industry?

Increase in Hackers

The freight industry is valued at upwards of $70 billion in revenue alone.

Add to that the level of infrastructure and the volume and value of the freight that moves through the network, and you’ll start to understand why it’s a perfect target for cybercrime.

Wherever there’s a multi-billion dollar industry, the hackers will swarm. And as the industry has grown in recent years, so too have the cyberattacks.

Old Technology

The freight industry has been fairly slow when it comes to implementation of technology. This has a flow on effect that seems to mean that the freight network is also very slow when it comes to upgrading that technology.

In our experience, a lot of warehouses get the oldest computer in the business. The terminals are outdated and use old software that hasn’t been upgraded. This makes them more susceptible to a breach.

People

People are a critical part of your cybersecurity processes.

While many of us imagine hackers as a shady guy in a dark room at a keyboard trying to crack our password, they are actually much more sophisticated than this.

One of the most effective hacking techniques is social engineering, where hackers capitalise on human error to gain access to a system.

With many warehouses experiencing regular turnover of staff, or employing casual staff during periods of high demand, your people are one of your greatest risks. If your team aren’t trained in what to look for, they could open your supply chain up to a serious data breach.


Best Practices for Cybersecurity in Logistics

Implement Communication Protocols

Having some simple procedures in place around communication can help protect your supply chain from cybercrime.

This includes things like –

Double-checking financial changes

Never change a bank account without calling the supplier to check the change first.

We’ve seen more than one instance where a company has received a legitimate looking email asking them to change the back account details of where they pay their invoices. They’ve then gone on to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a cybercriminal, instead of to their supplier.

Be consistent with customer communication

Having a standard and consistent look and feel for customer communication helps your customers to know that an email or text message is actually from you, and not from a hacker who is trying to steal their personal information.

When people are receiving hundreds of shipments every day, predictable communication is helpful to your customers, and great for building trust in your business.


Train Your People

Basic training for your people is an essential part of cybersecurity.

Clear policies and procedures about what to do (and what not to do) will ensure that you your staff know what to look for and how to respond should they be faced with a security risk. From knowing how to create a secure password, to how to deal with a suspicious email or text, to when it’s safe to share information, trained staff are a strong line of defense against a security breach.


Keep Technology Up to Date

Up to date hardware and software are at the heart of supply chain cybersecurity.

Have a system in place for installing software updates, get the right technology support to make sure there are no holes in your system, and if possible, use a web-based dispatch system as this will give you a redundancy over a setup that’s locally installed.


Have a Risk Management Plan

Even with good training, communication and the best technology, you could still find yourself on the receiving end of a cyberattack.

And when that happens, you’re going to want to have a Risk Management plan in place so you can implement it immediately, and minimise the impact to your business by getting back up and running as quickly as possible.


How using a Freight Broker can help you manage Cybersecurity Risk.

Having a freight broker like Freight People on your team can be a real advantage when it comes to managing your Cybersecurity Risk.

If your normal carrier is hit by a cyberattack that threatens to impact your supply chain, we can just go into the system, change your carrier election, and within 24 hours have switched your freight to another provider so it can still get to where it needs to go.


Cybersecurity is more important than ever before

If you’re in the business of freight, then cybersecurity is more important than ever before. The increase in hackers targeting freight, as well as old technology and your team present the biggest risk to the security of your supply chain.

By implementing best practices such as communication protocols, training, up to date technology and a robust risk management plan for your business, you’ll be able to minimise the risk of a cybersecurity breach that will negatively impact your freight.

If you’d like to know more about how Freight People’s smarter logistics technology can reduce your cybersecurity risk, as well as carrier flexibility and a consolidated invoice, all supported by our independent advice, then contact us today.