December 24, 2019

Truckstop.com crippled by malware virus in final stretch of peak season

Freight matching marketplace has been shuttered since Dec. 21.

By Ben Ames

Engineers at the crippled freight matching marketplace truckstop.com were working on Christmas Eve to continue fighting a malware software virus that has shuttered the online load board for days, right in the final stretch of the high-volume peak shipping season.

First posted in a social media post on Dec. 21, truckstop.com's virus has frozen many of the New Plymouth, Idaho-based firm's platforms, including its phone systems, load post and load search services, and its carrier monitoring and carrier payment services, the company said.

"Truckstop.com is experiencing system issues, including phone systems, caused by malware. We have been working around the clock to restore service and will continue to do so until we are fully operational," the company said in a post on its website. "We sincerely apologize for the disruptions this incident has caused at this time of year. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure you get paid and can manage your business."

The company did not indicate whether any of its customers' data had been stolen, staying only, "We want to reassure you that the safety and security of customer information is our top priority. Should we determine that these issues have impacted the integrity of any customer information we will move quickly to notify anyone affected."

Contacted for comment, truckstop.com said it did not have any updated information beyond the reporting in this article.

Without an estimate for when the site might go active again, many of the firm's customers posted pleas on social media for more information about when they could return to the site and get back to work. Comments included posts like: "What's going on? This is a big deal.  Our livelihood depends on getting this fixed." Another user said: "Will we be receiving any compensation for your services being down that we have to pay for? No work means no money for us."

The company has been one of the fastest growing firms in the digital freight matching (DFM) sector, acquiring both the freight transportation software firm Grizella LLC and the freight bill financing firm D&S Factors LLC in 2018, and landing a major injection of venture capital funding in April 2019 when it sold a majority stake in the company to investment firm ICONIQ Capital.

Even as the firm continued struggling to get its platform back afloat, rival online load board provider DAT Solutions reached out to frustrated truckstop.com users with a post on social media offering free local load searches on the DAT app. In a Dec. 23 tweet, DAT said: "Hiccups happen, and it's especially tough during the holidays. Truckstop customers: if you just need to get a load today, a reminder that the DAT Trucker mobile app has free nearby loads."

truckstop.com's woes come as companies throughout the industry continue to ramp up their spending to avoid similar fates. A recent survey of logistics executives showed they see cybersecurity as one of their top challenges, according to consulting firm Gartner Inc.

Those concerns are particularly critical since logistics firms are under increasing pressure to open their platforms and share their data in an effort to digitize their operations and boost supply chain visibility. In pursuit of those goals, 85% percent of logistics leaders expect that their outsourcing budgets will increase by more than 5% in 2020, Gartner said.

Based on the Gartner 2019 Logistics Outsourcing Strategy Survey, the results showed that companies' top three goals in that logistics outsourcing process include: updating their technology systems, increasing speed to customer, and improving visibility. But while those targets will pay off with improved performance, they can also leave companies increasingly vulnerable to attack.

"While logistics outsourcing is seen as helpful by a majority of logistics leaders, there are also risks and challenges. The complexity of working with multiple partners is the most mentioned challenge, followed by cybersecurity concerns, and the incompatibility of information systems between different 3PLs and the organization," Garter said.

Editor's Note: This story was revised on Dec. 24 to include a reply from truckstop.com.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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