The Importance of Cybersecurity for Truckers

Cybersecurity for truckers

Cybersecurity for truckers remains a major concern in the commercial driving industry. The threat from cyber criminals continues to rise everyday. From hacking personal identities to cargo location, it’s high time the trucking industry improves its cybersecurity measures in order to protect revenue, logistics, vehicles and drivers. This article will be giving insights on the importance of cybersecurity in protecting commercial vehicles, threats posed by cyber attacks and how the trucks can be secured.

Why should truckers care about cybersecurity?

With improved connectivity in the trucking industry, the industry has experienced much growth. Today’s average truck is connected to a lot of devices, including GPS, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), and mobile apps which helps generate data needed for shipping companies to run smarter and more efficiently. With connectivity comes improved safety, money saved on fuel and reduced driver fatigue translating to increased economic value. However these perks come with the threat of cyber attacks.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, a total of $721 billion worth of freight was transported across North America through heavy duty trucks. This alone covers 57% of the total value of freight shipped across the continent. These numbers highlight just how important the trucking industry is. Government offices and many companies around the world depend on trucking for their logistics. These trucks have to be highly connected in order to report their location and status to their managers, but hackers love connected vehicles.

A 2016 study by the University of Michigan highlights the alarming possibilities. Researchers were able to hack into a tractor trailers diagnostic port, manipulate the readouts from the instrument panel, force the truck to accelerate, and even disabled part of the truck’s breaking system.

This is why it is important for truckers to recognize that they need to put in place protection for their hardware and software systems from cyber attacks.

How to Keep your Truck and Cargo Secure?

For drivers it’s important to take preventive measures that ensure the cargo reaches its destination safely. Here are some tips to keep your truck and cargo safe and sound.

Security Starts With Awareness...

A main goal of cybercriminals is to gather information about where trucks are located in order to steal valuable cargo. Therefore, security should be put in place even before the driver enters the truck. Employees should be trained about basic security issues in order to understand why they should always follow certain procedures and what should be done if their cargo is stolen.

  • Make use of safety technology to route shipments. There are GPS tracking systems which can trigger a security alarm system if the truck goes off its route.

  • Drivers should contact dispatch at regular intervals

  • There is a higher possibility of theft if the truck is not in motion. Drivers should work in teams to keep the cargo moving.

  • Drivers should not be allowed to take a load home. If they need to stop, it should be in a well lit area or a secure yard.

  • If there is a need to park, trucks should be put tail to tail, or against a building. This will prevent the rear trailers from being opened.

  • Drivers should undergo specialized training against cargo theft and drive with increased awareness.

  • Drivers should be careful about the information they give out about the truck or route. They should not talk about the cargo or talk about their route, especially on the CB.

  • All drivers should follow delivery and pickup protocols. They should request ID from those who unload the trucks.

  • Dishonest employees should be weeded out. Those who have access to important information should be closely monitored.

  • Drivers should always lock the truck and take the keys with them before walking away from a trailer.

  • Be wary of people who claim you hit their car. This is a ruse that thieves use as a strategy to make people stop.

  • Form alliances with other trucking companies for more information about issues in the trucking industry. This would help solidify the fight against cyber theft.

Fleet owners should have a plan in case a truck is hijacked. Remember the safety of your drivers is more important than the cargo; It’s better to give the load to a thief than get injured protecting it. Keep a business card with company information and contact phone numbers in your wallet or on your person in case of cargo theft and notify authorities immediately.

Tackling Cybersecurity Issues

Not all hackers are trying to steal information or data. Some just want to cause confusion in the industry. Hence Cybersecurity for truckers has to be given top priority. Here are some tips to help prevent cybersecurity issues:

  • Train employees to generate strong passwords and to recognize phishing emails.

  • Encrypt all emails which contain important information.

  • Use comprehensive antivirus and malware programs for software and operating systems.

  • Regularly update your software and operating systems for security patches.

  • Always create regular backups for your software, or use a cloud-based system.

  • A disaster recovery plan is necessary in the event you have been hacked.

  • Review your IT department and update as necessary. Be a step ahead of these hackers. It is the only way to beat them.

The Key Takeaway

As more and more technology is integrated into trucks, the trucking industry becomes increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. It’s important to sync advanced vehicle technologies with the appropriate cybersecurity. This gives room for truck manufacturers to assure vehicle safety and the continuous growth of the commercial vehicle industry.

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