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Cyber-Warfare Within the Global Supply Chain


As shipping carriers and logistics companies invest more heavily in technology to offer enhanced digital features such as online booking, instant quotes, and tracking/tracing - they are also making themselves more susceptible to cyber-attacks.


These attacks can do severe damage not only to the carrier or logistics companies but also to their customers as well. Below, we will discuss two common ways of cybersecurity attacks and how they are affecting the global supply chain.


Spear Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals use spear phishing to gather personal information from unsuspecting victims. Unlike regular phishing tactics where the criminal sends out mass emails in hopes of someone taking the bait, spear phishing uses a more targeted approach where the criminal can pose as a friend, boss, family member or enterprise to gain the victim’s trust and fool them into providing personal information.


Recently the German container carrier Hapag-Lloyd suffered a spear phishing attack in which a cybercriminal created a sophisticated copy of the carrier’s website and directed users to login, revealing their private data to the criminals. Though the carrier has since then cut off services to Russia and closed their offices in Ukraine, it isn’t clear as to whether this attack was linked to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.


Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is employed by cybercriminals holding a victim’s information, files, databases or applications at ransom until the victim pays the criminal the demanded amount or until the victim can gain back control of the stolen assets. As recently as last month, a Seattle based logistics firm fell victim to a ransomware attack, crippling their operations for weeks as they worked to find a way to gain back access to their systems and internal data.


This attack debilitated the firm’s operations and restricted them to manage bookings and shipments manually. While it’s unclear as to whether the company has fully recovered from the attack, it’s safe to say that this has cost them dearly. For at least an entire week, the firm was unable to place new bookings, check on the status of existing shipments or do any type of customs work for its customers.

How These Attacks Affect the Global Supply Chain

The fact that the global supply chain is more fragile now than ever before isn’t news to anyone. The global pandemic has brought the logistics industry to its knees and it’s still struggling to get back up. That being said, it’s safe to assume that these attacks have a substantial effect on the global supply chain by putting more kinks in an already damaged machine and further delaying a return to pre-pandemic status.


Regardless of the motives behind cybersecurity attacks, they are not only a nuisance but also destructive to the target and their customers. While many companies are investing in personnel and software to protect themselves from cyberattacks such as these, industry experts warn that we should expect more cyberattacks across all industry sectors and be prepared to combat them when they occur.


While ClearFreight can’t protect your business from cyberattacks such as the ones listed in this article, we have heavily invested in aggressive strategies to protect ourselves and our customers so that we can keep your shipments moving and data safe. Contact ClearFreight today to hear about how we put our customers forward and how our customized supply chain solutions can help make logistics easier for you.

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