How Cybersecurity Attacks Can Impact Logistics: A Case Study

How Cybersecurity Attacks Can Impact Logistics: A Case Study

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month kicked off with the freight industry encountering a stark reminder of looming cyber threats. LTL carrier Estes Express confirmed a recent cyber attack that disrupted its IT infrastructure.

In a social media announcement, Estes Express disclosed that an IT infrastructure outage seemed to be the result of a cyberattack. While the specific details of the attack remain undisclosed, similar incidents often involve ransomware, a malicious technique where systems are locked and encrypted, with hackers demanding a ransom for decryption. Fortunately, Estes Express reassures that its terminals and drivers continue to efficiently pick up and deliver freight, indicating the company’s robust backup plans in action.

The Estes Cyber Attack: Implications and Response

The first sign of trouble with Estes’ systems emerged on October 2, when the company issued a notice of an IT outage. Such attacks over the weekend are common, as companies usually have lighter IT staffing during that period, making the damages more costly. On Tuesday, Estes confirmed that the outage resulted from a cyberattack. The company is actively addressing the aftermath of the attack, striving to restore normal operations promptly. Their website (outside of a simple landing page) and phone systems remain down.

Estes is notifying customers of other system effects, including the unavailability of its track and trace feature. The full impact on the LTL marketplace, which recently suffered the loss of Yellow, is yet to be determined. (Here’s why you shouldn’t panic, though.)

Tips for Safeguarding Your Business Against Cyberattacks

The freight and logistics industry is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, and given the prevalence of small businesses within the sector, the risk of closure due to a successful attack is significant. To combat these threats, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers four valuable tips, applicable not only during Cybersecurity Awareness Month but all year round:

  1. Employee Training Against Phishing: Cyberattacks often infiltrate via email, utilizing deceptive messages or malicious links and attachments. Ensure that your employees are well-prepared to recognize and thwart email-based threats.
  2. Mandatory Strong Passwords: Weak passwords are a hacker’s delight. Encourage the creation of complex passwords to fortify security.
  3. Implement Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Many applications and services already mandate MFA, adding an extra layer of security beyond passwords. Consider adopting this safeguard for your business, utilizing methods like texted codes, fingerprints, access cards, or authenticator apps.
  4. Regular Software Updates: Keeping software up to date is a simple yet effective defense. Updates often include crucial security patches that address vulnerabilities, rendering your software less susceptible to attacks. Automated updates can simplify this process.

These steps should form an integral part of your company’s commitment to cyber safety, supported by clear strategies, the right tools, and necessary investments.

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