December 31, 2019

Hackers used ransomware in truckstop.com virus

Freight matching marketplace restores "most major services" after 11 days.

By Ben Ames

The malware software virus that hamstrung freight matching marketplace truckstop.com over the holiday peak season was a ransomware attack, but "most major services" are now back up and the disruption did not compromise any customers' personal data, the company said today.

Ransomware attacks are an increasingly common form of cyber attack in which hackers install a virus on their target's computers and lock the owners out of their own systems until a ransom has been paid. Recent attacks during the month of December alone include the the city of Pensacola, Florida, and an unspecified U.S. Coast Guard base that fell victim when an employee clicked on a link in a "phishing" email. However, most experts suggest that the number of ransomware targets is far greater than publicly acknowledged, since most victims decline to admit they have paid ransoms out of fear they will be seen as easy targets for additional attacks.

New Plymouth, Idaho-based truckstop.com was forced to shut down its systems on Dec. 20, leaving users unable to access the company's phone systems, load post and load search services, or its carrier monitoring and carrier payment services.

The attack froze the site's services for seven crucial days right at the peak of the winter shipping rush, as the company was not able to get its desktop services back online until Dec. 27, and then get "most major services" back online on Dec. 31.

In the meantime, truckstop.com had not yet reported whether users' personal data had been stolen by the hackers, but said today that it was safe.

"We immediately engaged law enforcement and a leading team of security experts to confirm the security of our systems and safety of customer information," truckstop.com spokesman Matt Stubbs said in a statement. "At this time, there is no evidence that any customer information was compromised, and systems are being continuously monitored for irregular system activity. Should we determine that this incident impacted the security of that information, we will move quickly to notify anyone potentially affected."

truckstop.com declined to say whether the company had paid a ransom to the hackers, or to share more specific details about the attack.

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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