From passenger rail, airline, ferry, and bus operators to global freight distributors, the world’s transportation services providers are steadily modernizing to 21st-century standards, adopting digital means of tracking and monitoring their operations. While these upgrades can enhance efficiency, accuracy, and competitive advantages, they also expose transportation companies to a broad array of cyber and physical risks, many of which are exacerbated by the transportation sector’s widespread appeal to a variety of adversaries.

Below are examples of the types of threats and challenges Flashpoint helps transportation companies address:


THIRD-PARTY RISK

Given the nature of their operations, transportation companies rely on a variety of government and private-sector entities that provide technology, equipment, and infrastructure. While working with third-party vendors is necessary in most cases, it can prevent transportation companies from having full visibility into the processes and security measures involved in their day-to-day tools and operations.

By continually monitoring illicit communities, Flashpoint strives to gain proactive insight into threats, vulnerabilities, and schemes that could impact the transportation supply chain. Recently, analysts identified a yet-to-be-deployed phishing campaign containing an exploit for a previously unknown vulnerability present in a supply chain technology relied on by many transportation companies. After notifying the manufacturer of the campaign and the supply chain partners the vulnerability could impact, Flashpoint provided indicators of compromise (IOCs) and examples of the phishing emails to help the companies patch the vulnerability, bolster defenses, and mitigate their risk of infection.

PROTESTS & DEMONSTRATIONS

Since transportation services play an essential and highly visible role in modern society, they can appeal to activists seeking an accessible venue in which to draw attention to their cause. While most activism is peaceful and poses minimal physical risks, some demonstrations and protests have been known to cause disruption, travel delays, reputational damage, and subsequent loss of revenue for transportation operators.

Flashpoint analysts’ geopolitical expertise and visibility into emerging issues and activity helps transportation companies stay informed of upcoming protests and demonstrations. In one situation, analysts determined that planned protests were likely to impede progress on a major airport’s plans for expansion and yield substantial physical damages. This intelligence enabled the airport, as well as other companies that would have likely been affected by the protests, to take proactive measures to minimize operational disruption and uphold the physical safety of their employees, customers, facilities, and equipment, as well as the activists.

HIGH-PROFILE PASSENGER PROTECTION

Transportation companies frequently transport executives, politicians, celebrities, and other public figures. While travel generally does elevate certain risks for most people, the attention-drawing and often polarizing nature of many high-profile passengers can increase their risk of being targeted by adversaries seeking financial, political, or personal gain. Since many such schemes are often conceived and developed within online illicit communities, transportation companies and physical protection teams without visibility into these underground regions may be unable to assess and mitigate risks to high-profile passengers effectively.

Flashpoint’s team includes experts whose experience serving the U.S. military, law enforcement, and/or intelligence agencies has enabled them to hone the cyber-physical acumen needed to combat the full spectrum of threats facing high-profile individuals. In one instance, when the CEO of a Fortune 50 company was planning to travel to a popular public event, the company used Flashpoint’s intelligence to identify and investigate previously unknown physical threat actors located in the vicinity of the event. This visibility enabled executive protection teams to leverage a threat-based approach by deploying resources in priority areas to protect their executive while traveling to and from, as well as during, the event.


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