Cyber Risks Affecting Construction and Transportation Industry

19 January 2018

Today, cyber attacks continue to increase in size and severity. Industries that were once considered relatively safe are now exposed to potential cyber threats and risks. This is especially true for the construction and transportation industries that are increasingly adopting new technologies to improve operational efficiency, in turn, opening new opportunities for cyber attacks.

In order to protect your vehicles, freight, machinery, employees, customers and bottom line, it’s important to understand the common cyber risks in the transportation and construction industries.

New Technology Vulnerabilities

With the advent of telematics and embedded software, trucks and heavy machinery are more connected than ever before. While this connectivity can simplify data collection, increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety, it also increases the likelihood that a transportation and construction company will be targeted by a cyber criminal.

In just a few minutes, hackers can steal the private data your fleets and construction firms collect. This data can then be ransomed against your organization. In addition, vehicles with embedded software can be accessed and taken control of by malicious parties, putting the safety of your drivers and the general public at risk.

In addition to stealing data and taking control of the vehicle, cyber criminals can also hack a truck’s telematics system and disable its acceleration and brakes. By disabling the vehicle, offenders can easily overtake the driver and take off with the vehicle and any important equipment and supplies. Using a similar strategy, criminals can hack a truck and strand the driver, suspending use of the truck or product delivery, until a ransom is paid.

Loss of Personal Data

Any organization that stores or transmits sensitive data can become the victim of a cyber attack. For firms operating in the transportation and construction industry information at risk can include the following and more:

  • Sensitive employee or customer data, including credit card numbers, addresses and birthdays
  • Sensitive information from vendors, providers and other partners
  • Any proprietary or intellectual property you store
  • Logistics, freight, equipment, supplies, billing and collection data

Theft of any of the above information can financially sink a company or take away its competitive advantage. In some cases, loss of sensitive data can enable competitors to steal processes, systems, concepts or designs.

Denial of Service Attacks

Whether it originates internally or externally, another cyber threat you should consider is a “denial-of-service” (DoS) attack. In these situations, the hacker seeks to make a system network or an Industrial Control System unavailable to its intended users for an indefinite amount of time, until a ransom is paid. The ensuing negative financial impact of the ransom payment and the associated loss of revenue, business interruption and loss of reputation can be severe.

Customize Your Protection with Cyber Insurance

As the construction and transportation industries become increasingly connected, a wider range of data will be transmitted across networks. While storing data is a necessity for modern businesses, construction firms and transportation companies, will need to take the proper precautions in order to protect sensitive information, their vehicles and their customers.

The best way to protect your organization from cyber criminals is through cyber insurance. These policies can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your firm, ensuring that you are ready if and when an attack occurs.

For more information on cyber insurance, please contact Martin Delaney, Senior Vice President - Leader, Cyber and Risk Management Services at ClientFirst@jltcanada.com.