Trucking Cybersecurity: Stopping Hackers From Directly Attacking Our Trucks

NMFTA - February 20, 2024

For all the effort trucking companies make to protect their enterprises from cyberattacks, it’s a major mistake if trucking companies forget to focus on asset hacking. Cyber threats don’t necessarily have to attack through the enterprise. They can attack trucks directly, and many do. It’s called asset hacking. reported recently that cyberattacks on trucking had risen as much as 186 percent, while an attack on an asset could take more than 250 days to detect.

Direct threats are among the critical reasons the industry needs to download our recent NMFTA report titled the 2024 Trucking Cybersecurity Trends Report.

During our 2023 Digital Solutions Conference on Cybersecurity, we showed how easy this is when Ben Gardiner, senior cybersecurity researcher at NMFTA demonstrated asset hacking by causing a truck’s brakes to chuff. This was done using a signal with a simple antenna.

As trucks become increasingly digitized, they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. With the trucking industry representing critical infrastructure for our nation’s economy, this is not just a problem for one industry. The impact on the nation would be cataclysmic if cyber attackers managed to take down our trucks en masse, crippling our nation’s economy.

Trucking companies and truck original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must be on top of this.

Telematics represent another point of vulnerability. Telematics systems provide transparency for drivers and dispatchers, as well as real-time data that helps reduce the loss of freight and insurance risks. Fleet managers rely on telematics for routing, tracking, insurance and even automatic toll transactions.

But a telematics provider that has not secured its system leaves carriers vulnerable at the asset level – making it all too easy for cyber hackers to directly target and hit individual trucks.

Connected vehicle ecosystems are vulnerable, and they’re certainly not going away, as Ernst & Young recently reported:

“The global connected truck market is anticipated to rise from US$20.45 billion in 2021 to US$58.90 billion in 2028, as per an industry report. Connected trucks are all set to push the envelope on what’s possible in delivery and logistics – transforming industries around the world. However, the industry is not without a few key challenges.

Connected trucks are part of a hyperconnected ecosystem that is enabled by a lot of data and an intelligence network. Due to the growing quantity and complexity of data handled by connected systems, traditional cybersecurity measures can no longer ensure the required degree of safety.

While connectivity can make things more efficient, it creates a larger attack surface area that can expose the vehicle’s controls. Once inside the central control system, attackers may be able to send commands to the vehicle from a remote location to steal sensitive data, track vehicle operations and manipulate critical functions.”

NMFTA is working to help carriers keep their on-the-road assets safe from cyberattacks. Among our recent efforts:

And of course, NMFTA has just offered a look ahead with the 2024 Trucking Cybersecurity Trends Report. Download it today and stay on top of these developments. Trucking companies cannot afford to lose control of their assets even while protecting their enterprises from cyber threats. If the hackers can take out the trucks directly, nothing going on in the back office will matter.

And make no mistake: That is exactly what they are trying to do.

Want to attend an immersive event for cybersecurity professionals? Make plans to attend NMFTA’s Cybersecurity Conference set for October 27-29 in Cleveland, OH. Learn more at


The National Motor Freight Traffic Association promotes, advances, and improves the welfare and interests of the motor carrier industry and less than truckload carriers operating in commerce, both domestically and/or internationally.

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