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A leading provider of trucking and fleet management solutions, ORBCOMM has been grappling with service disruptions recently. These interruptions made it difficult for freight firms to efficiently handle their fleets. The cause? A damaging ransomware attack.

Tracking Difficulties and Compliance Challenges

ORBCOMM’s role in the industry is pivotal. They supply tools for freight businesses to supervise fleets and monitor shipped assets. Among these tools are Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), devices that truck drivers utilize to log their working hours, ensuring they comply with federal safety standards.

However, troubles began around September 6th. ORBCOMM users voiced concerns about being unable to trace their shipped goods. Furthermore, the Blue Tree ELD devices went offline, pushing drivers to revert to traditional paper logs. The problem with this sudden shift? Truck operators can only use manual logs for a limited eight-day period within a 30-day cycle, leading to justified concerns about meeting regulatory standards.

Company Response and Timeline

It was initially unclear what had caused the outage. But after some probing, ORBCOMM acknowledged a ransomware attack on September 6th. This cyber-attack significantly affected their FleetManager tool and the Blue Tree product range.

Michelle Ferris, the company’s VP of Corporate Communications, elaborated: “On September 6, 2023, ORBCOMM faced a ransomware attack. This attack affected our FleetManager system and the BT range, tools that many clients rely on for asset tracking. Swiftly acting upon the discovery, we secured the services of top-tier external cybersecurity professionals for a comprehensive examination.”

Ferris further assured stakeholders, “While this issue persists, our other systems and offers are functioning seamlessly. Regular communications are being maintained with all affected clients, and we’re committed to delivering updates throughout our recovery and investigative phases.”

US Federal Interventions and Industry Impact

To address the logging concern, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stepped in. They granted a special waiver, allowing truck drivers to maintain their use of paper logs, but only until September 29th, or until ORBCOMM’s services get restored.

Yet, the ramifications of this ransomware attack extended beyond just ORBCOMM and its direct customers. Some of the nation’s most prominent freight transporters found themselves in a bind, as they couldn’t monitor their fleets or inventory.

Unknown Origins and Further Updates

As of now, the identity of the malicious actors behind the ransomware attack remains unknown. Details about the investigation are scarce, given its ongoing and confidential nature. However, further information revealed that ORBCOMM had, in fact, communicated to its customer base about the ransomware attack on the evening following the breach.

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