More Connected Devices Creating Supply Chain Vulnerabilities


Cyber-attacks are an increasing threat in the transportation and logistics industry. Transportation and logistics are integral to the world’s economy, and therefore, a valued target for hackers.

According to the US Department of Home Security, the threat of cyber-attacks is very real. Companies who manufacture, transport and facilitate goods have been using connected devices in order to collect data for IoT initiatives, but unbeknownst to them, this technology is giving hackers easy access to company systems and information.

Collecting and analyzing big data has become an important supply chain strategy. Now, it’s also increasingly important to protect the systems generating sensitive information.

The development and growth of connected devices is driving the growth in cybercrime. In the last year, the number of records exposed in data breaches rose 97%.

Information sharing spans entire supply chains – transportation, warehousing, procurement, and production planning – plus, companies share branded data across their value chain – marketing, sales and customer service.

Internally, companies should monitor and update systems to prevent hackers from utilizing gaps. Externally, companies should be aware of risks associated with partners like suppliers and vendors.

As collaboration and data sharing develop in supply chains, more complexities to cybersecurity arise. The Information Security Forum (ISF) explains, “Sharing information with suppliers is essential, yet increases the risk of that information being compromised.” The bigger and more complex the supply chain, the more external partners to analyze risk with.

Cyber-attacks have disturbing, unpredictable and devastating effects on finances and reputation. One hour of lost time at an auto factory can cost millions of dollars.

Data breaches and digital security put entire supply chains at risk. According to the 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report, approximately 1 in 5 network intrusions involves manufacturing, transportation, or utility organizations. Any size company can be a victim of cyber attacks.

81% of large businesses suffered a cybersecurity breach in the past year. Cyber attacks on Target and Sony, among others, has opened the eyes of many businesses that cybercrime is a genuine danger. “The visibility of the Target breach and the resulting financial ripple effect has definitely gotten the attention of executives, particularly when it comes to third-party security risks,” said Dwayne Melancon, Tripwire’s chief technology officer.

Combatting the threat requires active security intelligence. Like any supply chain disruption, cybercrimes can be reduced with a risk management plan. Developing secure and dependable systems means observing systems across an enterprise. Cyber risks to supply chains are a greater risk than adverse weather, fire and social unrest combined.

ISF has developed a Supply Chain Information Risk Assurance Process (SCIRAP), designed to help companies assess tens of thousands of suppliers, with an eye toward identifying the riskiest contracts.

Addressing your company’s risk profile and security issues is the first step in stopping cybercrime. Companies might want to consider conducting an ongoing vulnerability scan to defend against new threats – a test only 1/3 of manufacturing companies surveyed due on an annual basis.

It’s important for those involved in transportation and logistics to be aware of their role in cybersecurity and recognize the ways they could be vulnerable to attacks. Company employees should all be involved in and understand the best cybersecurity practices.

Threats to transportation and logistics are serious and growing. The key to solving cyber problems is to accelerate awareness, create a cybersecurity risk and mitigation strategy, and continuously analyzing risk with those you work with.

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