Supply chain collaboration: the best defense against cyber crime.

Author:Weir, John


Supply chain transparency must now go beyond the traditional visibility of the movement of goods. The data that supply chain transparency can provide is a meaningful insight that enables organizations to manage cyber threats more effectively with their supply chain partners. Vet your suppliers to ensure their organization and their systems meet your standards of security. Understand and screen your partners' data management practices to ensure there are no holes in their system.

Physical threats and cargo crime have long been acknowledged within the international transportation environment. According to freight security firm CargoNet, rates of physical cargo theft have been dropping in recent years. In Q3 of 2015, cargo theft incidents in the US and Canada were down 23 percent from the same period in 2014. Industry experts are quick to warn that this reduction is not because of an overall drop in criminal activity, but because there is a shift from traditional cargo theft to cybercrime--the next generation of crime that will threaten the transportation industry, and may pose a far greater menace.

As we move increasingly to digital information systems, the threat to our information systems, software and networks grows in parallel. Cyber security in the transportation environment is generally referred to as a subset of supply chain security and includes the threats of cyber terrorism, malware, data theft, as well as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).

The logistics industry has embraced technology with high expectations of seamless transactions, up-to-the-minute information and user-friendly interfaces. There is increased sharing of information between providers and their customers, often through web-based applications which are vulnerable to hackers. Add to this advanced tracking and tracing systems using RFID tags and GPS systems, and you have a wealth of information on every shipment at each step of the supply chain. While visibility and transparency is integral to effectively managing your supply chain, it's also incredibly powerful, and leaves organizations vulnerable when it falls into the wrong hands.


Cyber-attacks have been growing in number and in sophistication, and have already presented demonstrable risk through its targeting of carriers, ports, terminals and other transport operators.

For surface carriers, a growing challenge is the theft of physical cargo, facilitated with cybercrime, through 'fictitious pickups'. These schemes leverage a form of identity theft, with thieves seizing shipment and carrier information, and impersonating or creating fictitious trucking companies in order to collect and abduct cargo, defrauding shippers and carriers at numerous points along the supply chain. So well executed are these heists that cargo is willingly handed over to...

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