With increased deployment of connected sensors across multi-modal supply chains, the vulnerability of international transport businesses to cyber-security threats will increase, so the industry must take action now to ensure that vital infrastructure is not exposed to cyber-criminals, hackers and hostile state actors.

The IIoT Safety and Security Protocol Report, published by the World Economic Forum, recommends a number of measures that businesses deploying IIoT networks should implement, including risk assessment models, enhanced end-to-end encryption and a rigorous, standardised software development lifecycle process.

With 50 per cent of transport businesses identified in our maturity model as starters, and 8 per cent as laggards, there is an immediate necessity for transport businesses to ramp up their cyber-security defences.

Transport networks, whether on rail, road, sea or air, are vital for a successful, thriving economy and society. A successful cyber-attack on an autonomous rail network would be a major coup for cyber-criminals and have potentially devastating effects on a country’s economic activity and safety.

HOW MATURE IS THE TRANSPORT SECTOR'S APPROACH TO IOT SECURITY (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

HOW MATURE IS THE TRANSPORT SECTOR'S APPROACH TO IOT SECURITY (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

A successful cyber-attack on an autonomous rail network would be a major coup for cyber-criminals

52%

identified external cyberattacks as one of their biggest security challenges

Half (52 per cent) of transport businesses identified external cyber-attacks as one of their biggest security challenges, reflecting the clear risk from malicious outside parties as we advance towards a more connected global supply chain. Other significant security challenges cited by transport businesses included poor network security (40 per cent) and insecure storage of data (37 per cent).

Both of these fears align with the risk of external cyber-attacks, as poor network security and insecure data storage fundamentally weaken an IIoT solution and may allow those wishing to do harm access to sensitive data and infrastructure.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST SECURITY CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF IOT BASED SOLUTIONS? (%)

Risk of external cyber attack
Poor network security
Internal data regulation and compliance requirements
Potential mishandling/misuse of data by employees
Insecure storage of data collected
Supplier/partner data regulation compliance requirements

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST SECURITY CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF IOT BASED SOLUTIONS? (%)

Risk of external cyber attack
Poor network security
Internal data regulation and compliance requirements
Potential mishandling/misuse of data by employees
Insecure storage of data collected
Supplier/partner data regulation compliance requirements

However, transport businesses demonstrate a strong understanding of their predicament with 64 per cent of transport businesses agreed that their processes to combat cyber-security threats could be stronger, and 66 per cent agreeing that they could do more to protect against data mishandling.

MY ORGANISATION'S PROCESSES TO PROTECT AGAINST DATA MISHANDLING COULD BE STRONGER (%)

17% Strongly agree
45% Agree
30% Disagree
8% Strongly disagree

MY ORGANISATION'S PROCESSES TO PROTECT AGAINST DATA MISHANDLING COULD BE STRONGER (%)

17% Strongly agree
45% Agree
30% Disagree
8% Strongly disagree

Crucially the transport sector is not sitting idly by while its critical infrastructure comes under attack. While a lack of staff skilled in security, as identified above, may play a role in hampering the industry’s efforts to bolster its defences, respondents to the Inmarsat survey identified a number of ways they are improving their security.

The mass transit and rail sector is leading the way in training its employees on IIoT, with 63 per cent reporting doing so to improve their security, as well as showing higher levels of investment in new security technologies (45 per cent).

Businesses within the freight and logistics sector are focusing their efforts primarily on upskilling existing staff and hiring additional skilled staff, while those operating in the container sector have directed their attention to upgrading their existing security technology and finding external partners to help them further tighten their security defences. For all sub-sectors, a combination of these approaches will be necessary to ensure security risks are minimised.

WHAT CHANGES TO SECURITY HAS YOUR ORGANISATION MADE/INTEND TO MAKE TO ADDRESS IOT SECURITY CONCERNS? (%)

Training employees on IoT
Communicating to customers on the use of IoT
Partnering with a third party
Investing in new security technologies
Upgrading existing security technologies
Hiring skilled staff
Creation of an internal IoT security policy
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes

WHAT CHANGES TO SECURITY HAS YOUR ORGANISATION MADE/INTEND TO MAKE TO ADDRESS IOT SECURITY CONCERNS? (%)

Training employees on IoT
Communicating to customers on the use of IoT
Partnering with a third party
Investing in new security technologies
Upgrading existing security technologies
Hiring skilled staff
Creation of an internal IoT security policy
Securing physical assets such as sensor nodes

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT - INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: TRANSPORT

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