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April 17, 2019 Shipping Methods

How the Internet of Things Hinders Cybersecurity

In an era of increased connectivity and transportation, people are becoming more and more concerned with data privacy and security on the internet. Businesses spend more time and resources to address cybersecurity so that clients feel their information secure.

As the Internet of Things, or the concept that the internet is embedded in everyday objects from cars to refrigerators to home security systems, continues to grow, cybersecurity no longer Internet Cybersecurityrefers to just the information on our computers.

Instead, clients and customers have to worry about data information on a variety of platforms. In the world of logistics and shipping, technology and the Internet of Things help improve shipment tracking, storage, analytics, and documentation.

In short, this connectivity increases the speed, effectiveness, and ease of shipping. Today’s logistics industry would not be able to function without this connectivity, but it also presents potential problems.

Any information on the internet can be hacked and is vulnerable to data theft.

At AFP Global Logistics, we ensure that your data and shipments are secure, while delivering seamless, customized freight solutions for our customers. The landscape of digital tracking and cybersecurity change rapidly.

Here are the challenges and solutions for creating strong cybersecurity in logistics and shipping.

Logistics and shipping are made of component parts, that have to all work together for security.

Elements of critical infrastructure include human, cyber, and physical elements. Although computers, software systems, and other cyber elements are often a focus in cybersecurity, these infrastructure elements are all intertwined and work together to make logistics work.

At AFP, our logistics experts work with you to ensure your shipment arrives securely, whether by ground, air, or rail. Our shipments are tracked and technology makes our processes seamless. However, all of these parts have the potential to be a risk.

In creating a Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Framework (RMF) or other risk management policy, companies develop a plan to analyze and assess risk, and create a plan to manage that risk. The first step in the framework involves setting goals and objectives for the risk management plan.

Then, users identify those elements of critical infrastructure, find out what risks each element poses and how to manage the risk, and measure the effectiveness.

In each step of this framework, users can circle back to analyze and rework the plan. One of the critical elements for the success of logistics companies are technology solutions.

And while technology solutions can be a risk factor in cybersecurity, they can also be an asset.

New and developing systems have made logistics solutions faster and more secure than ever before. However, the technology we use everyday puts us at risk of hackers, malware, and data theft. When the scale is bigger, say at a transportation company, the impact is also bigger.

In the summer of 2017, a massive cyber-attack shut down one of the world’s largest shipping companies.

The attack disrupted shipping in four countries, cost over $200 million, and caused tens of thousands of computers to be re-installed. This was a worst-case scenario for any company.

Logistics companies cannot function without technology, a new platforms and software have made shipping easier. For example, a Transportation Management System (TMS) is critical for any logistics company.

This platform allows companies to engage a process that streamlines the shipping process by tracking freight, analyzing shipments and carriers, and evaluate shipments.

Another vital part of almost any internet and information sharing online today involves Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs are codes that allow different software programs to communicate, and are used across the internet to share information.

In the transportation industry, APIs help companies get quotes and rates, transit times, and documents; track shipments; and dispatch carries.

Again, this speed and breadth of this software means easier, faster, and less expensive shipping.

Information sharing on the internet also poses risks, which is where cybersecurity comes into play. A key component of cybersecurity is having software that helps mitigate risks of attacks. For hardware like computers, these can include malware detection, firewalls, and anti-virus software.

Companies can also use secure information transfer on the internet through Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), Transport Layer Security (TLS), and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols.

For logistics companies, these are important security features for computers in offices, but also the technology that allows us to securely track our shipments in trucks, trains, and planes.

Cybersecurity technology is only as effective as the people who use the technology.

According to the National Small Business Association, a cyberattack costs a company an average of more than $20,000 to resolve. A 2018 survey reported that negligent employees caused 40% of security breaches in the workplace.

While a company can put software in place to protect against a host of cybersecurity threats, employees still need training on best practices. One simple practice is updating software regularly.

When Microsoft learned of global ransomware attacks in 2017, they quickly released critical security updates aimed at protecting consumers. Employees should also have strong passwords that they change regularly and lock their computers when not in use.

While they seem simple, these are often practices that employees need to learn or be reminded of in an ever-changing landscape of technology and security.   

Physical infrastructure is just as important as cyber infrastructure.

The last component of critical infrastructure are the vehicles that a logistics and transportation company uses to actually move freight. This can’t be done without the technology and the people behind the scenes, since the process is intertwined.

At with the Internet of Things, the trucks, railcars, and planes can now also be connected to the internet. These vehicles can be tracked and communicate electronically, which is vital for .

Therefore, any system they have that connects them to a larger network should be treated like a computer. These systems should be monitored for irregularities and have malware-detection installed.  

At AFP Global Logistics, our 25 years of experience and adaptation to evolving technology make us the best choice for your logistics needs. We know that cybersecurity plays a critical role in logistics and shipping in today’s global marketplace.

Contact us today to find out more about how we deliver you shipment efficiently and securely.

Call 410.590.1234 (toll-free 800.274.1237), email us at info, or fill out our quick and easy contact form.

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