Trucking in the cloud: Not as safe as you think

Trucking in the cloud: Not as safe as you think

Cyberattacks are on the rise, according to new research by information security group ISACA. Are the digital defenses of your trucking firm ready for them?

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is becoming an increasingly digital enterprise on a lot of levels these days (electronic logs, anyone? You’ve got two years – unless OOIDA’s lawsuit bears any fruit …)

Much of this technological shift is now centered on the concept of “cloud computing,” especially in terms of record retention where motor carriers are concerned.

That’s all well and good if this shift delivers improved efficiencies and cost savings to big rig operators large and small in the U.S.

However, with a greater reliance on Internet-based systems comes an increased risk of cyberattacks – and, yes, cyberattacks can wallop trucking companies when they least expect it, as this story shows. 

A recent survey conducted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, now known simply by its acronym ISACA, found that a spate of new threats are coming to the fore in the business world; threats trucking companies should make themselves aware of, no matter their size or scope of operation.

“There is no question that cyberattacks are on the rise, but what is changing dramatically is the type of attack and the targets that bold fraudsters are focusing on,” noted Christos Dimitriadis, ISACA’s international president and group director of information security at INTRALOT, in a statement. “In 2016, organizations must be sure that they have the cybersecurity framework, knowledge, skills and resources to manage these new threats.”

Research from ISACA’s Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) focuses on five major trends in cybersecurity for 2016:

  • Cyber-extortion Will Hit Wearables, Medical Devices and Gaming Systems: The business world’s use of the Internet of Things (IoT) will more than quadruple by 2020, when the worldwide total of connected devices is expected to reach 5.4 billion. That means wearables, medical devices, clinical systems, gaming systems, smart home devices and others may be increasingly vulnerable to security risks, ISACA said. In particular, IoT devices are a convenient target for fraudsters, especially those attempting ransomware – a type of malware that denies access to the victim’s computer and data until the hacker is paid. Since 2012, the number of victimized enterprises—most of them small businesses—agreeing to make ransomware payments has increased from 2.9% to 41%, ISACA noted.
  • Hackers Will Increasingly Target Cloud Providers: Because more data are shifting outside of organizations through use of hybrid and public clouds, 2016 will bring more attempts from cybercriminals to gain direct access to that information. And information technology (IT) experts are definitely getting worried about this: In a recent Osterman Research survey, approximately 76% of the IT professionals polled expressed concern about consumer-grade cloud storage, including file sync and share solutions.
  • Millennials Will Care More About Privacy Breaches: Surveys reveal a shift in thinking among Millennials, who have traditionally valued privacy less than other age groups. First, 2015 marked a number of high-visibility hacks that exposed the personal data of millions; further, Millennials are the generation most likely to use non-traditional IoT devices that are more abundant—and more vulnerable to security risks—than ever. These factors will prompt many Millennials to be more proactive with app providers and other businesses to ensure their private information stays private, ISACA said.
  • Mobile Malware and “Malvertising” Will Cause Mayhem: As more services and advertising move from the desktop to mobile devices, 2016 will see a massive increase in the frequency of “malvertising,” which the good folks at ISACA define as the practice of injecting malicious advertisements into legitimate online advertising networks. These and other types of mobile breaches have prompted an overwhelming majority of cyber experts polled by the group (87%) to speculate that mobile payment data breaches will increase over the next 12 months.
  • Cybersecurity Will be the “it” Job of IT: One of the greatest threats to national and global economic security is the cybersecurity skills gap, and that shortage of experts will continue to stifle companies in 2016 – and yes, that includes motor carriers. More than half of the global cybersecurity professionals surveyed by ISACA reported that less than a quarter of job applicants are qualified for the cybersecurity position they are seeking. Not surprisingly, this challenge has also made cybersecurity a lucrative career option and a “hot” job: ranked number eight on the 100 Best Jobs list by U.S. News & World Report.

“Too few cyber teams are prepared for the new forms of attack,” commented Robert Stroud, past international president of ISACA and principal analyst with Forrester Research, on those survey results. “While phishing and malware remain problematic, IT leaders must quickly address new threats tied to IoT, mobile devices, the cloud and other evolving technologies.”

A separate survey, conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), also dug up some worrying trends where cyberattacks are concerned:

  • 30% of respondents said their business fell victim to a cyberattack in the past two years – an increase from 22% in 2014;
  • Over 20% of respondents said cyber threats are worse than what has been reported in the media;
  • Fear of cyberattacks is increasing, with about 68% of respondents saying their company is moderately or significantly concerned with the threat of cyberattacks, compared to 62% in 2014.

Not pleasant stuff to think about, for sure, but even small trucking operations can’t afford to ignore cyber threats anymore.

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