How to win the war against the hackers

How to win the war against the hackers

8.6.2022 | Industry matters

How to win the war against the hackers

Karen Rogers, managing director at cyber security specialists, Corbel, shares the company’s top five recommendations on how the logistics sector can strengthen its internet defences.

The internet is incredible. It enables us to communicate in real-time with family and friends on the other side of the world, look up the answer to any question troubling us and even work more efficiently than ever before. But all that convenience and opportunity comes at a cost.

The speed and anonymity provided by the online world have made it easy for a new wave of criminals to steal our money and data with surprisingly little skill or effort.

It may be surprising to hear that the transport and logistics sector ranks in second place in a list of the industries most affected by cybercrime worldwide. However, if you then consider how much the industry has changed in recent years, you can begin to visualise why that is.

Firstly, transport and logistics are among the biggest sectors worldwide, and they are hugely profitable, which means it is extremely attractive to cyber criminals who want to make money. Secondly, the dramatic increase in technology usage across the industry in recent years means it is even easier for fleet operators, partners, and vendors to share data. This means cybercriminals have an even greater opportunity to identify and exploit weak links in the supply chain sector. Alongside that, the transport and logistics industry is incredibly sensitive to disruption due to our global reliance on supply chain firms. Bringing operations to a frightening standstill would be a key incentive for any cyber-criminal.

Cybercrime is now the number one threat to businesses everywhere, let alone our particular sector. But that doesn’t mean a devastating attack is inevitable. All this makes it even more critical that transport and logistics firms stay updated on the cyber threat landscape. There are plenty of ways to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals and stop your business from becoming yet another statistic.

When it comes to staying safe online, complacency is the real killer. So never underestimate the importance of internet security or assume that hacking is something that only happens to other businesses. It can – and does – happen to anyone who takes their eye off the ball.

Businesses today are finding themselves in a virtual war zone, battling a new wave of criminals who will stop at nothing to steal valuable data and cause long-lasting damage. Like any war, strong leadership and a great strategy will significantly reduce casualties and improve your chance of winning. Although it was written way back in the 5th Century BC, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is still influencing business leaders around the world – and it applies perfectly to the war against cyber criminals.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”

Staying one step ahead of the enemy means understanding your organisational flaws and weaknesses and an acute awareness of your opponent’s dirty tricks. When you know what you’re up against, you’ll be much better equipped to fight back. Sure, they can still attack you, but they can only cause real damage if you’re not properly prepared.

MALWARE

Malevolent, malignant and malicious, Malware is a generic term to describe all kinds of nasty software specifically designed to cause pain and disruption. Often still referred to as computer viruses, they do their damage by infecting the host with something that makes them sick – just like a real-life biological virus. And in the same way bugs are spread among living creatures, malicious code is used to generate multiple copies of the virus that spread across entire organisations. Once it’s found its way into the system (usually when a user clicks on a dodgy link), Malware can cause chaos and huge financial losses in an alarmingly short space. Within hours systems can become completely inoperable, devices can be spied on, and vast amounts of data can be stolen and sold to the first available bidder.

For a more detailed look into malware, including the nine threats you need to be worried about take a look here.

RANSOMWARE

The modern-day equivalent of ‘your money or your life’, ransomware attacks take users entirely by surprise by threatening them with major data loss unless they pay up fast. This nasty form of malware can completely block an organisation’s access to their information until they pay a ransom. Ransomware attacks have been at an all-time high. Still, fewer victims are paying up today thanks to an increased number of organisations investing in robust security and backup solutions. There were plenty of attacks last year, though, and hackers are still constantly looking for organisations with a more lackadaisical approach to data protection.

BOTNETS

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionised the way we work, live and play, with everything from our mobile phones to doorbells connected via the internet. And, of course, hackers have been more than happy to exploit this newfound connectivity. Constantly creating new ways to infiltrate personal and business data, cyber-criminals have been using a variety of internet-connected devices called botnets to perform a variety of attacks. From denial of service (DDoS) and ransomware to spying and cryptocurrency mining, botnets are on the rise, and they’re wreaking havoc on devices worldwide. One of the biggest reasons cyber-criminals target IoT devices is that attacks can go undetected for weeks or even months. It’s often when something goes seriously wrong that the victim notices their device has been compromised.

PHISHING SCAMS

Phishing has been around for ages now, and it’s not looking likely to disappear any time soon. Criminals rely on a combination of good nature and ignorance among their victims. Phishing scams work by sending target emails that have been carefully crafted to look like they come from a trusted source, and they’re often sent later on in the day when staff are less likely to be alert to threats.

MAN-IN-THE MIDDLE (MITM) ATTACKS

A bit like a nasty nosy neighbour, MitM attacks eavesdrop on transactions and conversations between two or more parties. Once the attacker has made their way into your personal or professional business, they’re perfectly positioned to steal your data and destroy your reputation. The most common way cybercriminals use MitM attacks is through unsecured public Wi-Fi, which is why working remotely from your local coffee shop is not a good idea. It only takes a few minutes for an attacker to intercept a device and install malicious software that processes and duplicates the victim’s data.

DISTRIBUTED DENIAL-OF-SERVICE (DDOS) ATTACKS

Ever suffer from information overload? When there’s so much stuff you have to take in and remember that your brain simply gives up and you find yourself incapable of intelligent thought? That’s basically what a DDoS attack does to computer systems, networks and servers by flooding them with so much traffic that they’re no longer able to perform simple tasks. Once the network has been completely overwhelmed with emails and requests it becomes completely inaccessible, resulting in significant losses and often irreparable reputational damage.

ZERO-DAY ATTACKS

This kind of cyber-attack happens on the first day a weakness is found in a piece of software. Usually, when a user becomes aware of a potential security risk they have time to report it to their software provider, who will, in turn, develop a patch (a bit like a sticking plaster) until a more permanent solution is available. But in the case of zero-day attacks, it’s too late for a quick fix. That’s why cyber-criminals are always listening out for news about potential flaws so they can act before the user has a chance to do anything about it.

STRUCTURED QUERY LANGUAGE (SQL) INJECTION

Cyber attackers perform SQL injections by inserting code into database queries, giving them complete control over databases and websites. It requires very little skill or knowledge to initiate an attack, but the effects of the stolen and misused data are often devastating.

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle”

Businesses targeted by cyber-crime fall into two camps: those who have prepared and those who haven’t.

It goes without saying that the ones who have always put IT security low down on their list of priorities find themselves in the hottest, deepest water. The effects of even a relatively small data breach can last for months, even years, with many organisations finding themselves completely unable to recover from the loss of revenue, reputation and customers.

Any cyber-attack will be inconvenient and worrying, but if you’ve got all your ducks in a row it doesn’t have to be devastating. When you have the proper plans, procedures, software and support in place you’ll always have the upper hand.

So, let them exhaust their troops while you sit back and smile, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done everything in your power to protect yours.

HERE ARE OUR TOP 5 RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Create a culture of awareness

Around 88% of data breaches are caused by unsuspecting staff members, so make IT education a priority in your organisation. Run internet safety awareness courses and ensure that you and your staff are always up to date with the latest threats and how to avoid them. Schedule regular reviews and refreshers into your diary, and lead by example. If you’re seen with Post-it notes displaying multiple passwords, or you regularly share login details, you can’t expect your workforce to take security seriously.

Check out our guide on how to make Cyber Security a solid part of your business’s culture here.

  1. Use strong passwords

Sure, it’s a pain having to have separate passwords for all your different applications, but it really is better to be safe than sorry. Hackers have been stealing passwords for years because people make it so easy for them by using them on multiple accounts or choosing codes that even a toddler could guess. Strong passwords include a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters, and they should be changed once a month.

There’s some great software out there these days that enables you to create (and remember) new passwords without having to keep coded messages in your diary or phone, so there’s really no excuse for the likes of “Password1” or “123456” anymore.

Multi-factor authentication is even better. Before being granted access to data, users have to do something to prove it’s really them logging in. This can be as simple as receiving a text on your phone, or for ultra-security, using a specialist device.

  1. Be careful what you (and your staff) post

We live in a society where it’s become the norm to overshare. From A-list celebrities to friends you haven’t seen since primary school, it seems that everyone is happy to divulge each moment of their waking day in detail. This constant stream of personal information has given cyber criminals the perfect opportunity to target victims through social media, quickly finding out where they live, what they do for fun and where they work. To minimise your chances of becoming a victim think about how much information you really want to share with strangers and make it policy for employees never to divulge business details online.

  1. Avoid public Wi-Fi

While it can be great to take a break from the office and work from the local café or train, using free Wi-Fi leaves you wide open to attack. It’s the perfect opportunity for cyber-criminals to steal passwords, customer data and banking details, quickly spreading viruses between multiple devices. If you or your workforce are going to work remotely, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure your connection, and be sure to turn off sharing on your device settings.

  1. Develop a multi-layered approach to IT security

The most important tools in your arsenal are robust, up to date anti-virus software and firewalls which should be constantly monitored and regularly updated. It’s also essential to ensure that all software is regularly updated to avoid any vulnerabilities hackers could exploit. Old, outdated computers also pose a significant threat, so undertake regular inventories of your entire system and schedule licensing renewals. Even with the best plans and precautions, disasters can still happen. The world of cybercrime is so rapidly evolving that even hardened security experts can’t guarantee that a hacker won’t come up with a new way to break in. So, you’ll need a backup in place. When your data is properly backed up in a secure place and regularly tested for vulnerabilities, any disasters that do occur can be rapidly dealt with and you’ll have peace of mind that any lost data can be quickly replaced.

For further information on how to make your Cyber Security even more secure- have a read here.

Corbel is your local, award-winning IT Support and Services company working proactively with businesses in Felixstowe, Ipswich and across Suffolk. Our dedicated and experienced Cyber Security experts have specialized expertise in the transport and logistics industry. We work with lots of companies in the sector providing advice, support and guidance to optimise how their technology works for them, in the safest and most protected way possible. If you would like to contact us to find out a little more about how our services could help you, please do give us a call on 01473 241515, take a look at our website or drop us an email at info@corbel.co.uk for an initial discussion.  

Uniserve talks warehousing

Uniserve talks warehousing

26.4.2022 | Industry matters

Uniserve talks warehousing

 

The race for space as demand outstrips supply.

The importance of warehousing capacity to the optimal operation of global supply chains has never been more in evidence than it is right now. For years, the UK’s logistics professionals have had to work around the challenges created by the nation’s chronic under-supply of warehousing space. More recently, however, this lack of supply has started to be addressed in a big way. According to the Office for National Statistics, 2021 was a record year for new warehouse projects – with the East of England being one of the particular growth hotspots (including Uniserve’s own 750,000 sq. ft Felixstowe Mega DC).

Actually, you don’t really need the ONS’s report to see evidence of this trend first-hand. Any driver traversing East Anglia’s main routes over the last 12-18 months will have noticed the array of new warehousing developments springing up in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk. Even though our region exists outside of the UK’s traditional ‘golden triangle’, the warehousing market here is red hot. So, beyond recognition of historic supply shortages, what has changed?

At its simplest level, more warehousing is being built because demand for space continues to grow exponentially. There are multiple factors driving this phenomenon. High on this list is the impact upon global supply chains inflicted by the overlapping arrivals of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. The resultant delays and disruptions to the free flow of goods between international markets have forced businesses around the world to reconsider their inventory controls and distribution patterns. The introduction of a ‘just in case’ approach to complement or replace ‘just in time’ methodologies have become more commonplace. Here businesses offset the impact of further supply disruptions to core markets by ensuring the availability of contingency stock at a local level. Across multiple industries, offsetting the possibility of shortages means greater reliance on warehouse storage. Achieving these goals requires greater levels of storage space.

The extraordinary growth in e-commerce has also fuelled the insatiable demand for warehousing space, with online retailers and 3PLs utilising DCs as key nodes in their (or their customers’) distribution networks. Even before the pandemic hit, the online market was exploding in terms of size and importance to the UK economy. Since the first lockdown, however, the nation’s appetite for buying online and home deliveries has found a different gear altogether. As an indication of this, a report commissioned by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) showed that between 2015-2021 warehouse occupancy by online retailers increased by 614%. What’s more, with the increased range and sophistication of ‘final mile’ solutions for e-commerce providers, warehouses in our region can now compete on an even playing field with traditionally located inland facilities.

What with being home to the UK’s largest container port, two major ferry ports, as well as a number of smaller short-sea terminals, a larger warehousing footprint in East Anglia has actually always made sense due to the sheer throughput of cargo. After all, port-centric warehousing offers unique customer benefits, including:

• Reduced costs and complexity
• Quicker access to goods
• Improved cashflow
• Reduced upstream resource burden
However, it just makes even more sense now due to the massive infrastructure and regeneration projects across our region. From the East Coast green energy cluster and Sizewell ‘C’ to the Freeport East initiative, we’re likely to see huge inward investment and stimulated business growth and, naturally enough, a lot more warehousing for the foreseeable future.

Uniserve operates warehousing facilities across the UK, Europe and the Far East. Primary locations in the UK include Felixstowe, Tilbury, Northampton, South Kirkby, Chepstow, Heathrow and Manchester.

Uniserve is proud to sponsor Felixstowe Rotary Club’s Charity Boxing Event.

Warning shipping delay problems to continue this year

Warning shipping delay problems to continue this year

26.1.2022 | Industry matters

Warning shipping delay problems to continue this year

Global supply chain disruption and shortages caused by the Covid pandemic are set to continue well into 2022, according to a report.

Digital supply chain experts project44 say average delays on shipping from China to Europe rose to 6 days in December, after falling for months.
Delays on routes from China to the west coast of the US have also been increasing steadily since October.
Congested ports and production delays have disrupted schedules for months.
“Delays are likely to continue well into 2022,” project44 said, “as Covid breakouts continue throughout supply chains and consumers continue to buy at a healthy rate.”

Huge Impact
The report said Covid continues to have a huge impact on global trade, as shipping costs have soared, delays have become routine, and empty shipping containers across the world are in the wrong place.
It means the number of blank sailings – when container ships cancel routes or miss out ports on their normal schedule – has been increasing.
“Blank sailings will continue well into 2022, as ports work down backlogs and consumer spending remains strong,” said Josh Brazil, vice president of supply chain data insights at project44.
Ships are also having to wait longer than expected at port to load and unload.
As of 0800 GMT on 25 January, for example, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, there were 82 container ships off the ports of Shanghai and Ningbo in China, waiting to take cargo on board. Further south, near Yantian and Hong Kong, another 61 ships were waiting.
On the other side of the Pacific, outside the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, 68 ships were waiting to unload their cargo. And in Europe there were 19 ships off Rotterdam and Antwerp.
At certain points last year, those numbers were higher, particularly in the US, but the strain on supply chains is still severe.
Ports around the world have been trying to speed things up. Rotterdam, for example, handled a record number of containers in December, and several ports have moved to 24/7 working patterns to try to keep up with demand.

Zero-Covid
But China’s zero-Covid policy isn’t making it any easier, and things will slow down anyway over Chinese New Year in the next few weeks. So, disruption is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Most of the delays and queues in China are a result of land-based restrictions imposed by port authorities at key exporting ports,” said Michelle Wiese Bockmann, markets editor at Lloyd’s List.
She added: “The zero-Covid policy has led to a roster system for port workers, with only half working at any one time and confined to the port, while the others are off.”
There is a reason port authorities are doing this: if any infection spread through the terminals it would lead to their closure, causing even greater delays. But lower handling capacity means longer waiting times for vessels at their berths.
The main beneficiaries of this shock to the system have been shipping lines, which are making huge profits from massive demand, amid fierce competition for space on container ships.
The cost of sending a container from Asia to Europe or the US has sky-rocketed, and the maritime consultancy Drewry estimated that the shipping industry made record combined profits of $190bn in 2021.
Drewry said that the record could be broken in 2022, and the knock-on impact is pretty obvious – the soaring cost of shipping goods around the world is fuelling rising inflation for everyone.

Source/credit: BBC News

Multimodal Special – Delivering Effective Logistics Solutions

Multimodal Special – Delivering Effective Logistics Solutions

19.10.2021 | Industry matters

Multimodal Special

On The Swain Group’s second outing to Multimodal, we catch up with group managing director, Matthew Deer, who is looking forward to launching new services at this year’s show.

How did you get into the industry, and what keeps you in it?

I was very fortunate to have been given an opportunity at a very early stage in my career to operate my own trades when I joined Nedlloyd in 1993. This was a great time to be based in the UK because shipping lines were moving into new trade lanes, and most of the global container trade management made a move to set up in the UK. For the next 12 years, I worked with several other container companies, mainly in trade management and, for a short period, global accounts, until I decided to move to a global logistics provider. This then introduced me to other products – air, road, warehousing and supply chain management.

I would encourage anyone to get into logistics. I’ve travelled worldwide throughout my career and had the privilege to see different cultures and different ways to do business. Training has always been available, which has definitely helped me grow. I had the honour to get sponsored in 2009 to complete my MSc in supply chain management and logistics.

It breaks my heart to see so many graduates come out of university with massive debts, which they’ll be paying for the rest of their careers. In my view, there is another way, and we should be selling a route into logistics at schools and colleges better.

With the return of Multimodal this year, what are your hopes for the exhibition?

This will be our second year as The Swain Group, and we are really looking forward to a successful exhibition. 2019 was a chance for us to demonstrate our diverse transportation businesses, all of which are very distinctive.

For this year, we have some new services we’re launching at Multimodal, and it’s always a great place to meet new customers and catch up with friends in the industry.

Experiencing some of its most turbulent times, if you could wave a magic wand and fix three issues facing the industry, what would they be?

• Recruitment – this has been a significant obstacle for a number of years.

• The pay across the industry can differ hugely, and we need to make candidates aware of all the opportunities available in logistics if they are to have the opportunity to grow.

• I often ask myself why I’ve continued to stay in logistics when we struggle to recruit. Do we have the same career development opportunities as we did ten or twenty years ago? The sector has definitely changed, but I feel there is more scope available now than before.

What lessons do you think the sector has learnt having kept Britain moving throughout the pandemic?

Firstly, we need to have stronger industry associations representing small to medium-sized firms that are still a major part of the UK logistics industry.

We also need to ensure we have the resources to remain agile to implement change with constantly evolving market forces.

Five years from now, will the future be bright for UK logistics?

With net-zero on all our strategic targets, this will be a huge challenge with the timeframe set by the government. As a significant UK transportation company, we recognise that the use of alternative fuel and electric vehicles requires infrastructure development, and we are already testing and closely monitoring how best to position The Swain Group.

Matthew Deer, The Swain Group

Visit The Swain Group on stand 8040, Multimodal 2021.

Multimodal  Special – The Man Behind Multimodal

Multimodal Special – The Man Behind Multimodal

19.10.2021 | Industry matters

The man behind multimodal 2021

Event director Robert Jervis, shares his passion for logistics and his aspirations for this year’s event.

How did you get into the industry, and what keeps you in it?

I fell into it. I was working for News International selling advertising space on The Times – and hating daily deadlines. So, I joined a small publishing company that also ran shows about port equipment – and have been “hooked” ever since. The first event I worked on was TOC – which is still going strong today.

With the return of Multimodal this year, what are your hopes for the exhibition?

That everyone enjoys themselves and wants to come again next year – be they, visitors or exhibitors. It was always going to be a bit of a challenge getting back in the saddle – I’m sure our customers understand that – but if everyone leaves the NEC feeling that their time was well spent and that they enjoyed the “family get-together” again, that would be great.

Experiencing some of its most turbulent times, if you could wave a magic wand and fix three issues facing the industry, what would they be?

The best companies in our sector waved their wand some time ago. They are already reaping the benefits of having an engaged workforce. They are recruiting apprentices, graduates, veterans and the like – offering worthwhile and fulfilling careers.
They are also investing in technology and superior kit. In turn, they retain loyal and valued customers. Relationships that aren’t win/win aren’t relationships at all.
But what would I fix? Poor truck stops, rail freight ‘bottlenecks’, and every bit of the M1 near Luton.

What lessons do you think the sector has learnt having kept Britain moving throughout the pandemic?

I’m not sure the industry needed educating as much as our politicians and population. This is a key industry with a highly skilled and dedicated workforce. Its role during the pandemic was as important as the healthcare sector. Of course, it always was – but now people are much more aware of it.

Five years from now, will the future be bright for UK logistics?

Yes. People will always hope to eat, buy stuff, travel, shop and do DIY. Our business makes that happen.

Robert Jervis, Multimodal 2021

Multimodal Special – Driving Digital Transformation

Multimodal Special – Driving Digital Transformation

19.10.2021 | Industry matters

Multimodal special

Committed to developing technologies that enable the logistics industry to thrive, Fargo System’s director Hemant Patel chats with Porttalk. 

How did you get into the industry, and what keeps you in it?

I got into the industry by chance. I graduated in computer science and worked for a university in London for a few years when I decided to spread my wings into the commercial environment.

I started working for a large air and sea shipping and forwarding company. Once I learned about the industry, I was fascinated by it and eventually, it was in my blood. The challenges faced by the industry over the numerous decades and even today have me enthralled.

With the return of Multimodal this year, what are your hopes for the exhibition?

With the return of the Multimodal exhibition amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that it will enable technology companies like Fargo Systems to bring new innovative ways to propel the industry forward in these unprecedented times and once again allow the community to thrive.

Experiencing some of its most turbulent times, if you could wave a magic wand and fix three issues facing the industry, what would they be?

  • Driver shortage and working conditions
  • Environment-friendly transport
  • Improved infrastructure

What lessons do you think the sector has learnt having kept Britain moving throughout the pandemic?

It has learned how critical this sector is to the lifeline and economic welfare of Britain. Also, it is a sector that needs to address the well-being of its staff and work-life balance and its dependence on the migrant workforce.

Five years from now, will the future be bright for UK logistics?

I believe it should be bright, as logistics is one of the necessities for any economy, but to ensure it thrives, it needs to address some of its most critical shortcomings.

Hemant Patel, Fargo Systems Ltd

Visit award-winning Fargo Systems on stand 7010, Multimodal 2021.