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6 Mar

The Cyber Threat to Business Supply Chains

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Business supply chains rely on overland freight carriers for transporting physical goods. However, the increasingly sophisticated methods of cargo thieves threaten this transport system's reliability. Before the Internet, cargo theft consisted of criminals staking out popular truck stops, warehouses, and freight forwarding yards. They sometimes followed cargo-laden trucks from their pick up points to rest stops where cargo thefts were carried out.

Today, cargo theft is also done by technically savvy cyber thieves who hack into the databases of both freight brokers and freight carriers. They then use the information gained to carry out cargo theft scams. These include:

Exploiting Hacked Freight Broker Data

Freight brokers are the middle men between businesses in need of overland shipping services, and freight carriers in need of customers. Businesses use them to reduce transportation costs, increase their shipping capacity, or when their current carrier is unavailable.

Cyber criminals with access to a freight broker's scheduling data (via hacking into its network) can send their own truck to the broker's customer posing as a carrier before the real carrier truck arrives. After the pickup, the fake truck simply drives away. Data revealing the types of loads for pickup allows the criminal to target customers with the most lucrative cargo.

Exploiting Hacked Freight Carrier Data

Cyber criminals with access to a freight carrier's scheduling data can also send their own truck to the carrier's customer before the real carrier's truck arrives. With access to information about the carrier's fleet routes and schedules, thieves know in advance when and where the loaded trucks will be parked. This, in combination with information about the cargo itself, allows them to lie in wait at rest stops and other places where fleet trucks carrying valuable cargo will be parked.

With this kind of inside information on the carrier's activities, many old defenses against cargo theft, such as avoiding regional theft hotspots, are ineffective.

Today, cargo theft is both a physical and cyber security problem. It impacts not only freight brokers, freight carriers, and their customers, but all businesses that depend on reliable supply chains. Loss of critical freight is often felt, in some way, by many businesses along a supply chain. For more cyber security information, insights, and answers to your questions, please contact us.

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