Freight brokers urged to increase security in light of pipeline cyberattack

Opt-in to Cyber Safety. Multiple layers of protection for your devices, online privacy and more.

The cyberattack that temporarily shut down the Colonial Pipeline this month serves as a stark reminder that all industries are prone to security threats. A single attack brought the nation to a crawl. Just think of the damage one could cause your operation.

In today’s data-rich transportation and logistics industry, information flows freely from network to network. This is especially true for freight brokerages, which transact large amounts of information both electronically and in the cloud. 

In light of the recent cyberattack, Jamie Cannon, Reliance Partners’ vice president of third-party logistics (3PL), urges freight brokers to examine their cyber risk and insure themselves against damages resulting from such attacks.

Regardless of size, even companies that aren’t household names find themselves victims of digital sabotage, leaving some with heavy financial losses. Though they seem random in nature, these attacks are very much calculated. 

Freight brokers, according to Cannon, hold treasure troves of knowledge on their customers, including sensitive pricing and payment information from shippers and motor carriers. She attests that this puts brokers at an even greater risk than trucking companies.

It’s still unclear how exactly Colonial Pipeline’s network was infiltrated, but cyberattacks are typically perpetuated by similar methods.  

While firewalls are exceptionally good at preventing unauthorized access to one’s network, many hackers gain entry when the door is opened to them. All it takes is the miscue of one employee to inadvertently welcome a host of bad individuals, ultimately compromising the entire network. 

Cannon said, added that the work-from-home business model has put many companies at risk since networks are being accessed from nonsecure locations. 

Phishing is a common method used by hackers to gain access to company data. This often involves baiting unsuspecting employees with emails that can look quite legitimate. “A lot of people are opening [suspicious] emails. There’s certain emails that they shouldn’t respond to, like urgent gift card or wire transfer requests from someone posing as their CEO or…