Hackers Targeting Small to Medium Sized Businesses: What You Need to Know.


In a report by Malwarebytes, who provides online security services, U.S. ransomware attacks just about tripled in the first three months of 2019. When this happens, hackers use ransomware. I'm sure we have all heard the term ransomware but maybe we are not all sure what it is exactly. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. The Malwarebytes report noted, hackers are now shifting their focus to small-to-medium-sized businesses

According to Overdrive.com, in these ransomware incidents, hackers use malware to shut down part, or all, of a fleet’s technology system and then demand money, often large sums, to reopen access to the data. Not only can this impact a small fleet’s bottom line, but it can severely disrupt its ability to operate.



Even though smaller businesses may not have the resources to pay very large ransoms, it’s presumed hackers are increasingly targeting them because they believe these smaller firms don’t have the technical resources that much larger companies have to detect or defend from attacks.  This lack of IT support and security expertise — combined with the fact that larger carriers, third-party logistics companies and shippers who use owner-operators will continue to demand more stringent security compliance in the years ahead — creates significant challenges for small to medium sized fleets businesses.

An FBI public service announcement in October warned that ransomware actors are actively targeting health care organizations, industrial companies and the transportation sector. These crooks are the heart of the new wave of cyberattacks that can cripple trucking and logistics firms and put the transportation infrastructure at risk.



Even large, sophisticated fleets aren’t immune. In its public earnings report from this year’s third quarter, Roadrunner Transportation reported that it had fallen victim to a malware attack on its systems in September, costing the fleet nearly $8 million in lost production and server downtime. Last summer A. Duie Pyle was also attacked and was unable to communicate with shippers and had their website shutdown. It is only a matter of time before these attacks head downstream to owner-operators. This may range from phishing attacks or links in email that could trigger malware.


John Wilson, vice president of administration, safety & human resources for B-H Transfer Co., gets dozens of emails every day. But an email he received in late 2017 was a little different. Crudely written, the email demanded $5,000 in cryptocurrency in exchange for access to the company’s own files. The Macon, Georgia-based carrier was locked out of its main TMS system and the keys to get back in were going to cost some serious Bitcoin.

The ransomware attack found its way into the company’s database using that inactive account. Once the account was compromised, anything the database had access to was encrypted by the attacker across multiple servers — locking the company from accessing its own system.

“Fortunately, we had good backups and other than losing about half a day, we were very lucky that we restored it very quickly,” he said. “We just chose to see if we could get it restored before we even considered paying [the ransom]. We were lucky. I’m telling you we were lucky.” John told CCJDigital.com


B-H Transfer, which also came under a phishing attack about six months later, isn’t alone in being targeted by cyber thieves. Earlier this year, a ransomware attack grounded computers at Birmingham, Alabama-based J&M Tank Lines for four days – four days that CEO Harold Sumerford said the company couldn’t bill customers and could only pay drivers based on what they’d earned in weeks prior. It could happen to you too if you are not careful.



Because owner-operators are often integrated into freight brokerage systems and other platforms that have sensitive data and links to larger firms, they’re likely to be a target. For example, the goal for hackers may not be to hold the owner-operator ransom. Rather it would be to work their way through to the larger enterprises. This creates risks for both parties and can damage long-standing relationships owner-operators hold with shippers, brokers, carriers and other parties.


New England Mobile wants our customers and our readers to know what is going on in the industry when it comes to Cyber Safety so they can better protect themselves. It is a very good idea to have dependable, up-to-date back-ups of everything so in case of a ransomware attack you can wipe everything and then resume normal operations using your back-ups and never will you have to give in to these ridiculous requests for ransom, usually in the form of bitcoin so it cannot be traced.


New England Mobile is serious about our customer's cyber security when using any of the systems we offer. We only represent companies who go the extra mile to make sure their systems are the most secure in the industry.


We proudly offer the most secure GPS Fleet Management system in the entire world. The system we represent and support was awarded the world's largest single-source telematics contract just last year. The contract is with the GSA and it's for over 200,000 vehicles.


Since 1954, GSA Fleet has been providing quality vehicles and efficient and economical fleet management services to over 75 participating federal agencies. Its end-to-end fleet management services include vehicle acquisition, leasing and disposal, as well as maintenance control, accident management and fuel and loss prevention services. When first announced that they are going out to bid, they wanted to choose a few options for the various government agencies to choose from but none of the other systems they looked at came even remotely close as our system when it comes to making sure all of our customers' data is 100% secure.


The system New England Mobile offers fleets across New England is a vertically integrated telematics provider and manages the entire technology stack, from the in-cab hardware and embedded firmware used to encrypt and transmit data, to the secure server-side hosting and software applications. As the first telematics companies to achieve FIPS 140-2 validation for its cryptographic library, they place security at the forefront of their innovations, ensuring rigorous security measures that meet industry best cybersecurity practices. As part of this GSA award, they have also received a GSA sponsorship for FedRAMP certification, which will position them as the first SaaS telematics platform to achieve this prestigious cybersecurity accreditation.

To learn more please contact New England mobile today!


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