IoT and digital transformation – cheaper transport but at what price?

4th February 2019


Simon Whitburn
Senior Vice President Cyber Security Services

The transport industry faces a major period of change, with pressure to make better use of natural resources and embrace new technology, while at the same time driving costs down. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) – linking all manner of infrastructure and devices together – will help to drive operational costs down, but the investment price is high and the risk from cyber crime enhanced.

When ships, trucks, planes, trains and vans are able to communicate directly with infrastructure facilities it will become easier and faster to move goods around. Packaged goods will also be tracked and detected by transporting vessels, making sure items go to the right place and enhancing logistics – better use can be made of cargo space and shared transport.

Digital transformation

Being able to realise those benefits requires expensive and time-consuming technical infrastructure work. This digital transformation involves making every system and component able to access the network and agreeing communication standards so that every ‘thing’ can communicate with all the others. Doing that, effectively making transport infrastructure more open, is fraught with difficulties.

As the transport sector relies strongly on partnerships between different players there will be competing groups trying to establish their standards. Replacing existing systems that may be very old will cost time and money, particularly if they rely on old or even obsolete control PCs.

Increased vulnerability

A further difficulty is that this very openness will, unless protective measures are taken, open up infrastructure to attacks from the internet. Every new device that goes live, whether it’s a sensor in a loading bay or a truck, adds another ‘attack vector’ that can be exploited by malware.

Older embedded systems, which can’t be updated or run the latest software, will be particularly vulnerable. These were particularly vulnerable to ransomware such as WannaCry and NotPetya, the latter of which hit Maersk and FedEx’s TNT division particularly hard in 2017. Legacy systems will remain in place alongside the new breed of interconnected devices, creating a widely disparate technology base that’s increasingly harder to manage and protect.

Protecting the network

Nominet’s NTX platform defends those devices by protecting the underlying network. Since most malware uses the DNS (the phone book for the internet) at some point, NTX examines all DNS packets in your network for signs of malware, phishing, data exfiltration and botnets, and allowing you to block them.

We’ve provided an easy-to-digest infographic which quantifies the threats faced by the transport sector. This one-pager has all the key statistics to support a case for investing in the right cyber protection.

Download Infographic 

Get in touch to discuss Nominet’s NTX cyber security platform, which spots and detects cyber threats before they can harm your organization.