Educating your business on the importance of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Challenges for Trucking in 2024: Mitigating Risks on the Road

Posted by Aaron R. Warner on May 8, 2024 12:43:45 PM
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Buckle up, truckers! Trucking is the industry that keeps America rolling, and it's in the middle of a digital revolution. From high-tech ELDs to AI-powered cameras and internet-connected trailers, the way we haul goods is evolving at breakneck speed. In the interest of safety (and profit) most trucks now have or will soon get AI cameras for things like distracted driver, cell phone detection, gyro events, etc. But alongside these advancements lurks a hidden adversary – hackers.

While cybersecurity threats may not be the first concern for truckers, the consequences of an attack can be devastating. A single cyber incident can cripple operations, disrupt deliveries, and erode customer trust, leading to significant financial losses and reputational damage. It’s also a personal risk and can dent the pocketbooks of drivers as well as the companies they serve.

ProCircular has been involved in several large-scale trucking and logistics breaches, and the knowledge gained is a valuable tool for others. Learn what cybersecurity means for trucking and how to avoid the most common trucking cybersecurity vulnerabilities in this article.

Expeditors International: A 65 Million Dollar Lesson

A cyberattack on Expeditors International, a major logistics company, sent shockwaves through the industry. The attack forced them to shut down most of their global operating systems for three weeks, leading to:

  • Disrupted operations: This resulted in delayed shipments, halted customs processing, and hindered distribution of customer products.
  • Lost business: The company estimates it lost over $40 million in potential shipping opportunities due to the disruption.
  • Recovery and litigation costs: Expeditors additionally spent $20 million on investigation, recovery services, and claims related to the attack. This included a $2.1 million lawsuit filed by iRobot, a client whose Roomba vacuum cleaners were impacted by the delays.

Beyond Expeditors: A Widespread Problem

The Expeditors case is just one example of the growing threat of cybercrime in the trucking industry. Here are some additional concerning statistics:

  • A Hiscox report revealed that one in six cyberattacks targeted businesses in the transportation and logistics sector.
  • The average cost of a ransomware attack on a business globally is estimated to be $4.24 million according to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybersecurity research firm.

These figures highlight the widespread nature of the problem and the potentially devastating financial impact that cybercrime can have on trucking companies of all sizes.


Common Cybersecurity Threats Targeting Truckers


This malware encrypts critical data, holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. In the trucking industry, this can disrupt dispatch systems, immobilize fleets, and cause significant delays.

Phishing Attacks

Deceptive emails are designed to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or clicking malicious links. These attacks can compromise login credentials, hijack accounts, and gain access to critical systems. These are often the attacks used to launch Ransomware on your machine.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

Hackers intercept communication between two parties, allowing them to steal data or manipulate information. This can compromise communication between drivers and dispatch centers, potentially leading to cargo theft or manipulation of delivery routes.


Malicious software can infect devices and steal data, disrupt operations, or even gain control of vehicle systems.

Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks

These attacks overwhelm a system with traffic, making it inaccessible to legitimate users. A DoS attack on a dispatch system could disrupt communication with drivers, hindering their ability to receive updates and complete deliveries. DOS attacks are available on the Dark Web for as low as $25 and can be pointed at anyone.

Trucks and Tech: Cybersecurity in the Trucking Industry

Modern trucks are increasingly reliant on technology, from telematics systems that track location and performance to engine control units (ECUs) that manage critical functions. While these advancements offer valuable benefits, they also introduce new vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Here are some specific risks and how truckers can mitigate them.

ELD & Telematics Systems
  • Risk: Hackers can gain access to sensitive data like location, fuel levels, and cargo details, potentially leading to cargo theft or manipulation of delivery routes.
  • Mitigation: Use strong passwords when possible, even though four-digit codes are everywhere by default. Avoiding public WiFi and tethering to your phone is a far more secure method, and both are best done with a VPN.
Engine Control Units (ECUs)
  • Risk: In a worst-case scenario, hackers could gain control of critical vehicle functions like braking or steering, posing a serious safety risk.
  • Mitigation: Keep software updated, park in secure locations, and be cautious of installing unauthorized software or hardware.
Diagnostics Ports
  • Risk: Hackers can use these ports to access the vehicle's internal network, potentially compromising various systems.
  • Mitigation: Secure diagnostic ports with physical locks and only allow authorized personnel access.
Identity Theft
  • Risk: Bad guys are frequently “cloning” trucking companies' portals and websites to collect information from clients and drivers.
  • Mitigation: Only going to sites directly, never using links provided in emails, and carefully checking the addresses of sites used are all important steps.

Cybersecurity in Trucking: Taking Action to Protect Yourself

While the threats may seem daunting, there are practical steps truckers and trucking companies can take to bolster their cybersecurity defenses:

Employee Training

Regularly educate employees on cybersecurity best practices, including recognizing phishing attacks, using strong passwords, and practicing safe browsing habits.

Software Updates

Ensure all software and systems, including telematics devices and mobile apps, are updated regularly to patch vulnerabilities and address security risks.

Secure Communication

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks to encrypt data and protect sensitive information.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implement MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security beyond passwords. While not perfect, it’s far better than nothing.

Incident Response Plans

Prepare for game day ahead of time. Develop an incident response plan outlining how to respond to a cyberattack, minimizing downtime and ensuring a swift recovery.

By implementing these measures and fostering a culture where it’s ok to discuss and report cyber risks, truckers and trucking companies can significantly reduce their risk. Just remember, cybersecurity is not a one-time fix; it's an ongoing process. By staying informed and taking proactive steps, truckers can navigate the digital landscape with confidence and contribute to a more secure and resilient transportation industry. Contact our experts if you’re looking for a cybersecurity consultant for your trucking company.


Topics: Cybersecurity, Incident Response, Security Awareness Training, Ransomware, Transportation, Trucking, MFA

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ProCircular is a Full-Service Information Security Firm

We are passionate about helping businesses navigate the complex world of information security, and our blog is another great source of inforamtion. We can assist you no matter where you are in your security maturity journey:

  • Breached or hit with ransomware?
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