Know the enemy: 6 cyber security vulnerabilities in logistics - acs365

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Every industry is vulnerable to cyberattacks in the digital age, no matter how forward thinking or technically proficient they happen to be.

Logistics is a case in point. Increasingly relying on automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services, the supply chain is forever innovating.

Conversely, this reliance on cutting edge technology opens up such businesses to an array of cyber threats whose effects range from minor gaps in service to potential business killers.

Unfortunately, cyberattacks are now inevitable, but the key to mitigating instances is to understand the most common threats. In this blog, we look at six of the most common in logistics.

1. Embedded malware in IoT devices

The IoT has given birth to software and machines that have revolutionised the way logistics firms operate, but due to their autonomous nature, they can also hide threats.

If the connected devices in your operation aren’t protected from malware or scanned alongside the regular network by your IT team, they could provide the vulnerabilities cyber criminals hunt for.

2. Network vulnerabilities

Cyber criminals will scan networks, looking for vulnerabilities in software and hardware. If a weak link exists in your network, they’ll pounce.

Although the size of the organisation rarely makes a difference in terms of the likelihood of such vulnerabilities, businesses that have BYOD policies are often more at risk due to the prevalence of foreign devices on the network.

In logistics, this can be commonplace, which is why it’s vital your network team has access to multi device management software that keeps tabs on all possible network vulnerabilities, no matter where they originate.

3. Poor cyber security awareness internally

One of the largest cybersecurity threats within supply chain businesses often comes from the employees themselves.

If there’s a lack of understanding when it comes to cyber security internally, staff may be inadvertently and regularly opening doors of which hackers can take advantage.

Basic cyber security training should be provided to new starters, and enforced with in-house policies and procedures that take a security first mind-set.

4. Poor practices by lower-tier suppliers

Clearly, you can control the approach taken towards cyber security within the four walls of your own business, but third party suppliers are another kettle of fish.

In logistics, lower-tier suppliers can be the highest risk when it comes to falling foul of cyber security that subsequently impacts the businesses to which they’re connected.

It’s therefore important to work with all suppliers to ensure they take the same approach to you with network, device and application-level security vulnerability scans.

5. Crimeware

Although not specific to the logistics sector, the sheer variety of crimeware in modern society presents a unique challenge for larger organisations.

There are three in particular that demand the attention of supply chain IT departments:

  • Ransomware: one of the longest-standing forms of cybercrime, ransomeware literally holds your devices to ransom, the price for which can be crippling.
  • Remote Admin Tools (RATs): these number among the most dangerous exploits because they’re often disguised as legitimate pieces of software that are capable of stealing data and enabling hackers to remotely edit files.
  • Keyloggers: software that records the keystrokes of users has long been used as a way to gain access to passwords and other sensitive corporate data, and runs silently in the background, making it particular hard to identify.

6. Un-patched systems

When the Wannacry virus made its way across the world during 2017 and crippled the systems of some of the world’s largest organisations, it became abundantly clear how dangerous an un-patched operating system can be.

Due to the scale of most supply chains, updating operating systems and software can be a long, laborious process that is often left until the last minute. Unfortunately, that leaves businesses that lag behind open to malware like Wannacry and security patches can be ignored.

Wrapping up

Whether you’re running a small local logistics firm or a multi-national corporation, positive investment in cyber security defence and education is a must. Don’t leave it to chance.