Thursday, December 24, 2020

New Cyber Attack Group Cripples Another Major Logistics Player

Make Security Your Number One Resolution
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE – Every company in the supply chain should consider one New Year's resolution for 2021, an overhaul of their cyber attack insurance and protocols against such intrusions.

A ransomware demand from a cyber-hacking group calling itself Hades has decimated the services of Tennessee headquartered Forward Air, a logistics company employing over 4,000 people involved in the trucking and air forwarding business. The company has been having to resort to manual systems for over a week after its computers were paralysed by a virus which the group planted. This was followed by a text file which said:

”Your files are encrypted, and currently unavailable. You can check it: all files on you computer has an extension, By the way everything is possible to recover (restore), but you need to follow our instructions. Otherwise you can’t get back your data (NEVER).

”What guarantees?

Its just a business, we absolutely do not care about you and your deals, except getting benefits. If we do not do our work and liabilities – nobody will cooperate with us. Its not in our interests.”

Note the poor English and grammar, usually a sign of a foreign interest. Included was a link leading into the dark web with instructions on how to contact the group and discover how and how much the ransom to be paid.

This is simply the latest in a series of attacks by various criminal groups on participants, both large and small, in the global supply chain sector. The timing has doubtless been devastating for both Forward Air and its customers, coming as it did in the lead up to Christmas. This week Texas based less than truckload (LTL) operator Central Freight Lines reported it too had been attacked.

Forward Air has filed the relevant documents with with the Securities and Exchange Commission outlining the details of the ransom ware attack, stating:

"On December 15, 2020, Forward Air Corporation (the “Company”) detected a ransomware incident impacting its operational and information technology systems, which has caused service delays for many of its customers. Promptly upon its detection of the incident, the Company initiated response protocols, launched an investigation and engaged the services of cybersecurity and forensics professionals. The Company has also engaged with the appropriate law enforcement authorities.”

After the devastating attacks on some of the major carriers, Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC etc. plus the deplorable vaccine incident, it is clear this is a problem now facing every player in the industry, hence our recommendation that, for 2021, despite a host of other problems to contend with, cyber security, staff training and insurance against such incidents, should be a priority for every company in the industry.