Until now, the Camden, New Jersey company focused on giving marine industry supply chains cybersecurity services. But, with the rise of hacking risks among trucking companies–caused mainly by the influx of technology advancements in the industry–HudsonCyber is aiming to now bring support to the fleets working to minimize their potential for cyberthreats.
“The trucking industry, as part of the global transportation sector, is very similar to the maritime sector–where some of the terms, challenges, and concepts are very similar,” said Max Bobys, HudsonCyber Vice President, at ATA’s annual Technology and Maintenance Council meeting. ”About a year ago, we started a conversation with ATA about how we might be able to adapt and deliver a similar solution to the trucking industry.”
According to ATA’s director of Technology and Engineering Policy, Ross Froat, “cybersecurity is always a hot-button item.” He explained that modern trucks can have upwards of a dozen computers onboard, as companies use them to improve safety and track drivers and their shipments.
“There is a lot of communication going on onboard the truck at all times,” he said. “How fleets have been adapting to that has been very beneficial to uptime, more freight deliveries, and assurance to shippers and customers.”
With Controller Area Network systems, trucks can easily send data back to companies and their offices, and some technological components can make communication between drivers and their companies incredibly simple. However, more interconnected systems always come with higher risk.
“Every step that the industry takes in advancing technologies, there’s a parallel step in terms of vulnerabilities and security, and the scariest things that could happen–like terrorist attacks with truck ramming, and things like that,” said Froat.
To help combat these issues, HudsonCyber has developed a platform to target the needs of each individual trucking operation implementing it, Bobys said.
“This is going to be something tailored to–and inclusive of–the actual end users and challenges within the trucking sector,” he explained. “We are going to set up a separate platform that will be able to deliver cybersecurity self-assessment [and] decision-support capabilities to all ATA members at a very low price point going forward.”
ATA Chief Commercial Officer, Kevin Traver, said this initiative–the second affinity program launched by ATA–wants to solve members’ issues with low-cost solutions.
“It has to benefit our members, and it has to be affordable for our members,” he said. “We’re not trying to create programs that will cost our members hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re trying to give them solutions that make sense in their budgetary process.”
Options like these are especially important for fleets carrying particular kinds of cargo, said Clem Driscoll, founder of C.j. Driscoll & Associations, a marketing and research firm.
“If they’re carrying any type of sensitive cargo, they should probably be more concerned,” he explained. “Those that feel vulnerable because of what they are carrying or because their customers express concern should be doing something about it. But that’s not every trucking fleet.”
Many trucking companies, he said, have not begun to pay nearly enough attention to the actual risk at hand of cyberattacks and how detrimental they can be.
“Some companies are prepared to handle that, to some extent, while others have not been concerned about it and haven’t done anything,” Driscoll said. “The level of concern is moderate at most, especially among smaller fleets.”
Additionally, Bobys said cyber-risk assessment through programs like that of HudsonCyber, is vital for trucking companies without cyber safety experts already onboard.
“One of the general challenges in the global market regarding cybersecurity is actually the shortage of cybersecurity experts globally,” he said. “That is a chronic situation that continues to persist. And it affects literally every industry.”
However, Froat asserts that before fleets add any software or external access to their systems, they must consider all of The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s cybersecurity guidelines.
“Be proactive in the decision to add whatever to [your] network,” he said. “Because once one of those systems is hacked, your system is hacked.”