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News Alert: Forward Air suffering significant IT outage

(An article about the subsequent return of Forward Air’s systems can be found here.)

Forward Air, which operates ground and air services across several different transportation types, is suffering a significant outage in its technology systems.

In a prepared statement supplied to FreightWaves, a spokesman for the company said that on Tuesday the company “detected an IT security incident that impacted the functionality of certain computer systems.” The extent of the technology failure can be seen just by going to Forward Air’s website; it is not operating. 

“We immediately took our systems offline and engaged several third-party experts to assist us in conducting an internal investigation,” the spokesman said in the statement. “Our IT team is working diligently to restore the affected systems and services and bring them back online as soon as possible.”

In an email to a 3PL that uses the Forward Air system, an unidentified contact within the company said “the cause is unclear, but again our team is working nonstop to correct and fix the issue.”

That email to the 3PL also said that any shipments within the Forward Air system that are “currently moving … will deliver as scheduled.” However, an exception was made for the Northeast, with the region’s pending snowstorm cited as the cause for the delay.

While the cause is not disclosed, the wording of the Forward Air note is similar to what other companies will state when they are under a cyberattack. Additionally, the failure of the website and the fact that the source at the 3PL said emails to Forward Air were bouncing often are marks of a cyberattack. (Emails sent by FreightWaves Wednesday afternoon to Forward Air did get through and a response was received.)

And while Forward Air cited Tuesday as the date, the source with the 3PL said the email to Forward Air that bounced was sent late Monday.

The source said he spoke to a contact at Forward Air who said company employees had been instructed to shut their computers off. “So any imported freight can’t be released from customs because they have the paperwork in their system,” he said. 

There is no apparent reaction to the Forward Air problems in its stock price, which at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday was up 0.87% for the day at $75.08. The company’s stock has been on a three-month roll, up 28.37%.

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  1. hi..
    i have very urgent goods lying with FORWARD AIR Los Angles. as per our agent forward air system has been hacked since 14-12-2020 monday and there is no idea when it will be get OK… is it possible to take delivery in manual form ?? system may not be OK for weeks and our goods will be useless after X-MASS cermonies.
    Iman pakistan

  2. They are not “currently moving … will deliver as scheduled.” That’s total garbage- I’ve had a shipment sitting in a warehouse in Phoenix for 10 days. No contact, nothing. Phones just ring and ring and if you get voicemail, the mailbox is full. Absolute embarrassment.

    1. Hey Seth – Try calling at off hours, I was able to reach someone @ 11 PM at a terminal in MST, maybe you’ll get lucky and they can find some info for you. But, this incident crushed their entire system so there’s not much they can do about it.

  3. Forward Air system still down as of Thursday afternoon, recommending customers move shipments with other carriers. Hope they can get it under control and get back online asap, we need em!

  4. Significant is not the word. Total outage everything phones, Qualcomm, websites, contractor settlements late, deposits late.
    This is an absolute total disaster. This after there was already a breach earlier in the year that exposed information on contractors.
    Bad, bad, bad.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.