When most people think of cybercrime, they think of stolen personal information, and credit applications opened in someone’s name. Fraudsters who take advantage of the elderly, who may not even understand they’ve been a victim. Databases that are hacked into and customer information was stolen, requiring credit checking for millions of customers. Trade secrets were stolen from businesses that are sold to the highest bidder and take away a competitive advantage.
While cyberattacks on larger companies make the news, it’s the small- to medium-sized companies that are most at risk. And 3PL logistics companies are just as much at risk as any company.
What It Is
Cybercrime is any criminal activity committed with technology—from an individual smartphone to a sophisticated offshore server that can’t be located. Hackers usually engage in cybercrime to steal information for financial gain, or for other reasons such as terrorism or politics. Victims of cybercrime are paralyzed until they are able to repair, rebuild, or replace their system.
Many companies find themselves with a ransomware attack, where a hacker takes control of the system in exchange for a large sum of money. Data may be completely lost if the system isn’t backed up, causing delays and other problems.
Cybercrime And The Supply Chain
Increased digitization of every aspect of the supply chain leaves each link vulnerable to some kind of problem. Because supply chain technology has evolved substantially in the last ten years, it’s become the newest target for cybercriminals. Transportation, particularly trucking, is particularly at risk since it relies so much on technology to get freight from Point A to Point B.
Transportation relies heavily on schedules for delivery. A single container interacts with multiple companies and can have ten or more stakeholders. One hacking or ransomware attack can dismantle schedules, causing delivery delays, financial losses, and even system shutdowns.
For instance, a centralized IT system can be targeted to isolate and hijack equipment (such as a truck) as well as cargo, leading to potential dangers for both employees and for public safety.
One popular method of supply chain cybercrime is called the “fictitious pickup.” Checking online load boards for valuable cargo, thieves use bogus credentials to pose as real drivers (such as a DOT number from a non-operational company) and download the contract. Once they have the information they need, they bring their own trucks to the collection point, then leave with the load before anyone realizes that they weren’t legitimate.
A company that falls victim to ransomware can also be used to interfere with a truck’s electrical system and stop it, stranding the driver and delaying or stopping shipment. This kind of attack can put the driver in grave danger, as well as risk loss of data, freight, and confidential customer information.
Self-Defense Against Cybercrime
While no one is immune from cybercrime, there are defenses your company can take to prevent anyone from accessing your company’s systems.
- Train employees to observe security measures. It sounds simple—but when an employee leaves his or her UserID and password on a post-it note on the monitor, it’s inevitable that someone will take advantages of such easy access. Things like:
- Regular password changes and protect access info
- Never share passwords and UserID
- Use two-step verification for logins
- Install security updates and patches, including virus and security software
- Avoid websites that are unsecured and potentially dangerous
- Power down computer equipment at the end of the day.
Employees are the first line of defense against potential intrusions, so make sure there is time for mandatory training on company equipment.
- Firewalls and software. Your company systems should include a VPN (a virtual private network), SSL certificates, and password protection. Up-to-date software that’s tested and provides a strong system with password protection, as well as a sophisticated authentication system and user control, goes a long way in keeping your system safe.
- Backups of data and other information. Essential for any business, it’s especially important for 3PL companies. Company data is vital to your company, so it’s important to back it up regularly. In any disaster situation, lost or deleted data can be recovered. Store this data on a flash drive, external drive, or elsewhere that’s not vulnerable to hacking.
Having a cybersecurity expert available or on staff can also let you know where you have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Cybersecurity is a continual investment, not a one-time occurrence, and it’s important to make sure your company stays current.
You may not be able to fight off every hacker who wants in, but you can make it more difficult. Your company can also recover faster if the worst should happen.
The FBI has additional information available on its website, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, with additional links to more US Government cybersecurity sites. The US Department Of Justice also has a site for reporting cybercrimes.
3PL Worldwide Is Your Supply Chain Partner
Getting your goods from the manufacturer into the customer’s hands is the lifeblood of every company. With 3PL Worldwide as your supply chain partner, we can work with you to manage the distribution of your company’s goods efficiently.
If your company has an increased need for help with supply chain functions, call us. We can help with shipping, warehousing, delivery, and so much more. We also offer additional help such as call center services and bi-coastal warehouse space in both Connecticut and Southern California, and serve supply chain customers nationwide. Contact us today to learn more at (888) 456-1920 or use our online contact form.