Research uncovers potential cyber risks to transport industry

The Australian transport and automotive industry sectors could be exposed to a number of previously neglected risks as a result of an increasing reliance on internet connected infrastructure, according to new research published by global insurance group, Zurich.

As the heavy manufacturing industry becomes increasingly reliant on interconnected communications technologies, the very real risk of a cyber violation should not be overlooked, according to Zurich's Senior Risk Engineer, Mervyn Rea.

“The loss of secured data could severely impact the transportation and automotive service sectors. Companies could face severe liabilities for security breaches that lose customer or employee data or valuable intellectual property that needs to be kept secret to maintain competitiveness,” he said.

Rea added that Zurich is seeing an increasing reliance on technology in the transport sector. Everything from dispatch, consignment of goods and recording of working hours is being collected, uploaded, documented and monitored in real-time with technology, along with a rise in the use of Telematics which has led to better productivity, fleet utilisation, track and trace, fuel efficiency, maintenance management and driver safety. However, all this data could be vulnerable to cyber attack and means additional safeguards must be taken to avoid fraudulent or unintentional loss of critical data.

“Losing vital data for truck and goods movements, driver hours and engine diagnostics has the potential to cause anything from minor disruptions to major incidents and can create significant reputational concerns with the customers of haulage companies,” Rea said.

“We are also seeing an increase in the reliance on technology from the manufacturing and service sectors on transport. As more customers look to purchase their goods online and have them delivered to their doors, real time track and trace technology is fundamental to both the customer and the supplier. If a business was to lose that data through a cyber attack the fall out could affect future business and be damaging to the brand and reputation of the transportation part of the delivery cycle.”

Produced in collaboration with international think tank the Atlantic Council, the report titled ‘Beyond Data Breaches: Global Interconnections of Cyber Risk’ identifies seven categories of cyber risk, ranging from internal IT malfunctions and illegal entry by criminals to wide scale external shocks to internet infrastructure that can be felt on a global scale.

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