How has Ransomware Affected the Transportation System?

How has Ransomware affected the Transportation System?

The widely propagating Ransomware attacks have threatened and disrupted the operations of thousands of organizations across the globe, costing them millions of dollars in Ransomware recovery, alleviating their profits, and compromising brand reputation. The transportation and logistics industry is also an eminent target with numerous corporations such as Fed Ex, Deutsche Bahn, and Maersk falling victims to the assaults in recent years.

Not a week goes by without news of another Ransomware attack striking a corporation, demanding exorbitant ransom. The transportation industry is a specifically alluring target for cybercriminals as an attack not just brings the targeted business’ operations to a halt but disrupts other interconnected business activities as well that are dependent on the appropriate functioning of the targeted firm. This escalates the pressure for the victim firm to pay the ransom in order to restore services at the earliest and resume operations.

Since transportation companies have an extensive network, their reliance on computers and online connectivity is ineludible. The transportation companies manage their logistics digitally, thereby making an efficient network system imperative for successful operations. This makes it obligatory for them to pay the ransom for Ransomware recovery and resume their key services.

The industry serves as a crucial player for many other corporations transitioning goods from one entity to the other. This interconnected nature of the business increases the dependency of the producers, suppliers, and retailers, which the attackers are able to exploit, resulting in delayed delivery services. Attackers leverage this integration by raiding on the weak links in the chain, thereby causing substantial damage.

Many security officials of the industry did not deem it imperative to invest in the cybersecurity infrastructure due to other operational costs resulting in low-profit margins. This paved the way for criminals to easily assault the businesses producing crippling and highly debilitating consequences. This has led many transportation and logistics companies to re-evaluate the situations and thereby, invest hefty amounts in cybersecurity.

The recent NotPetya malware targeted FedEx, the global shipping giant, causing disastrous effects on the company’s computer systems and shipments. The company estimated a loss of almost $300 million. Its Dutch subsidiary TNT Express was significantly disrupted, bringing its operations to a halt. However, the company immediately implemented the remediation steps and contingency plans to restore the services.

Another transportation giant that has been assaulted by the malware is A.P Moller Maersk, an integrated container logistics company and a global leader in container shipping. The company claimed that the cyber-attack caused massive interruptions in its computer systems across countries. The company’s 17 shipping container terminals also came under the influence of the malware, including 2 in Rotterdam and 15 in the rest of the world, incurring financial losses of almost $300 million due to business interruptions. Ransomware recovery was intense for Maersk as it had to alter its network and re-install 4000 servers, 45,000 PCs, and 2500 applications in a considerably short period of time.

Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest train operator, was also considerably affected by the global WannaCry epidemic that struck the world in 2017. The German train operator’s systems were massively disrupted, disabling ticket machines, while the digital schedule boards displayed messages of ransom notes for the Ransomware removal rather than train departure and arrival timings.

A very recent Ransomware attack struck the Australian transportation and logistics giant, Toll Group this year. The attack encumbered the key services and delivery operations of the freight and delivery service company. It has a vast network in almost 50 countries, delivering bulk commodities, medical supplies, and spare parts, thereby having significant impacts. As a result of the attack, the company had to disable its operations and rely on manual and automated services for a short period of time to restore global operations.

In order to combat the rapidly rising threat, transportation and logistics companies are forced to take concretes measure to bolster their systems from any attack, otherwise, their operations will be incredibly crippled and Ransomware recovery would undoubtedly cost them a hefty amount.

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