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How to Prevent Fleet Cybersecurity Attacks

By Verizon Connect March 15, 2022

It may seem futuristic, but vehicles connected to the internet have already become the norm on today’s roads. This includes fleet vehicles that leverage telematics and GPS tracking data to help improve productivity, reduce costs and improve navigation.  

However, connected vehicles can leave fleets vulnerable to unexpected cybersecurity threats. To prevent your fleet from being exploited, and your organization from falling victim to a cyberattack, you need to proactively evaluate security risks and create a thoughtful plan for protecting your networks and your vehicles. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to the cyber safety of your connected fleet.

Cybersecurity threats come from many directions

Cybercriminals and bad actors can attack in many ways, from vehicle operations, vehicle systems that share data or your organization’s back-office networks in general. A common type of cyberattack is a phishing attack that delivers ransomware to your system. 

Phishing attacks typically arrive via email, where one unintentional click or download can open a door for hackers. This can lead to system outages that interrupt operations and cause costly downtime. It can also result in compromised or stolen data—which is especially problematic for connected fleets that share a common protocol across all vehicles.

In addition to stealing data or holding it hostage, hackers can also target vehicle operations themselves. The goal is to gain control of one truck or car, or an entire fleet, for reasons ranging from stealing the contents to harming drivers or others on the road.1 For these reasons, a proactive approach to fleet cybersecurity is critical.

Tips for protecting your fleet from cyber attacks

To prevent a cybercriminal from mining for load locations or financial information, as a fleet manager you’ll want to take these initial steps:

  • Ensure telematics and other software purchased is from vendors that incorporate security into their products from inception through every single update.
  • Replace outdated operating systems if they are no longer supported by security patches and updates, and make sure all software updates are made in a timely manner once they’re released.
  • Create company policies that monitor the apps drivers download, and outline which are security risks, and coach drivers to turn off unused apps.
  • Consider using multi-factor authentication as an added layer of security—you can also train staff to spot suspicious phishing emails and avoid clicking on them.

In addition, consider using these 3 tactics to specifically safeguard your telematics data:

  1. Prioritize data access to limit potential exposures and attacks. Limit access of specific types and sets of data to only those who need to view it in order to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining systems entry. 1
  2. Understand how and when your telematics devices update. Be sure to learn how updates occur and under what conditions—while the vehicle is running, overnight, etc.—to ensure security updates take effect. 1
  3. Protect your drivers with anonymity when possible. There will be times when you need to track data related to specific drivers. But when that’s not the case, change telematics settings to create anonymous data trails.1

To learn how telematics from Verizon Connect can support a secure foundation for your connected fleet, request a demo at your convenience.


Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Cybersecurity, Data & Analytics

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