Air cargo cyber crime warning
20 / 03 / 2015
THE number of cyber crime-related incidents where spyware has been installed within an air cargo operator’s IT system and release codes for containers from terminals have been stolen are rising, warns freight insurance specialist TT Club, writes Thelma Etim, deputy editor.
“We see incidents which at first appear to be a petty break-in at office facilities,” says insurance claim expert Mike Yarwood. “The damage appears to be minimal – nothing is physically removed – but more thorough post-incident investigations reveal that the thieves were actually installing spyware.”
He asserts that the (stolen) data and information is being used to locate high value cargo in-transit.
Whilst advances in IT systems undoubtedly provide greater opportunities for carriers, transport operators and cargo handlers to mitigate their exposure to theft and fraud, such increased sophistication also benefits those with criminal intent, argues Yarwood.
Hackers also often use social networks to find operational personnel who travel extensively, such as truck drivers, to ascertain routes and the overnight parking routines, the company’s research shows.
“There has been an apparent focus on specific individual containers in attempts to track the units through the supply chain to the destination port,” adds Yarwood.
“Criminals are known to have targeted containers with illegal drugs in this way however such methods also have greater scope in facilitating high value cargo thefts and human trafficking.”
He is now advising operators to be more pro-active by identifying the value of their data and educating employees about the risks.
“Awareness is often the first step. Often the level of threat is dependent on an organisations’ own culture,” he concludes.