Truckstop.com said a computer attack shut down access to many of its online services, forcing customers to find workarounds during the final shipping rush before Christmas.
The outage has been ongoing since Friday, Dec. 20, according to some sources. Truckstop.com notified users publicly Saturday, Dec. 21 that it was "experiencing technical difficulties" and was working to resolve the issue as fast as possible.
In a statement Monday, Dec. 23, Truckstop.com said the outage was "caused by malware." It did not say if any customer information was compromised but that it "will move quickly to notify anyone potentially affected."
One of the leading boards for listing U.S. surface freight, Truckstop.com handles about 500,000 loads per day and has 200,000 active users. Silicon Valley-based investment fund ICONIQ Capital acquired a majority stake in the nearly 25-year-old company this past April, valuing Truckstop.com at $1 billion.
The outage of Truckstop.com, one of the two biggest truck freight-matching platforms in the U.S. along with DAT, comes as trucking capacity tightens in the final leg of the holiday shopping season. The U.S. Outbound Tender Reject Index (SONAR: OTRI.USA) increased over half since last week to 12.6%, the highest since January, due to the final Christmas rush to stock.
U.S. Outbound Tenders are spiking at year's end. (SONAR: OTRI.USA)
Jeff Hopper, DAT's chief marketing officer, said the company saw a "massive spike" in the volume of online load queries and phone calls after the Friday outage of Truckstop.com. He said DAT is foregoing transaction fees for loads booked on its site during the outage.
"As we became more and more aware of what's going on, we started shifting more resources to handle the spike in demand," Hopper said. "It's the holidays, which is the busiest time of the year, and customers are trying to find their way home. We don't want people to feel stranded."
As of Sunday, Dec. 22, at least seven sites belonging to Truckstop.com were down. Along with the load board, the carrier onboarding and safety compliance service SaferWatch was also down.
Other sites affected include its factoring, RFP tool and real-time freight service.
Six of the sites down are hosted by the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based data hosting firm Involta. A representative of Involta was not available to provide a statement as of presstime.
Another site, Shipper Mate, which is hosted by Amazon Web Services, was also down as of Sunday evening.
"Our customers are our top priority and we understand that even minimal interruptions in service can have a major impact on their business," a Truckstop.com representative said in a statement to FreightWaves. "We sincerely apologize to our customers for this disruption."
While creating new efficiencies, the trucking industry's drive to digital services has also been marked by the typical plague of cyberattacks.
In November, the site for Louisiana's transportation department was hit by ransomware, preventing carriers from getting needed permits. Roadrunner Transportation Systems suffered a malware attack in the third quarter that resulted in lost revenue at its less-than-truckload segment. A ransomware attack also hit LTL carrier A. Duie Pyle in June.
Broker customers are resorting to workarounds due to the outage. Michael Feig, chief operating officer of White Plains, New York-based brokerage Capital Logistics, said his firm is using DAT for load listings and Carrier411 and manual setups for new carrier onboarding, forcing delays in his business.
"A process that took minutes can now take over an hour to exchange the necessary information," he said.
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
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