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Monday, July 15, 2024

Agricultural Cyber Security Risks and Increasing Threats

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The agricultural cyber security risks are increasing and also challenge as it seeks to feed a growing population with fewer resources.

With the help of agriculture technology, farmers are able to increase operational efficiency and reduce labor requirements.

However, there are several roadblocks standing in the way of widespread adoption—including rural broadband connectivity and increased risk of food and agriculture cyber attacks.

Fortunately, there are tangible actions you can take to protect your operation from these threats while ensuring continued access to essential ag tech services.

In this article, we will explore how agriculture cyber risk security affects the industry and what steps you can take to mitigate such risks.

The Benefits of Agriculture Technology 

Agriculture operations are increasingly turning to ag tech to gain a competitive edge and enhance their production.

Unfortunately, with this added technology comes greater agricultural cyber risk security. If cyber attacks occur, it could even lead to the shutdown of critical systems like irrigation.

Despite the inherent threat posed by cyber attacks, many farmers are finding that integrating ag tech helps increase efficiency and meets consumer demands with fewer workers.

The absence of an adequate traditional farm labor force makes AgTech a must for farmers in order to complete essential tasks.

According to a study conducted by Caledonia Solutions, precision technology adoption on farms doubled from 2013 to 2019, resulting in an 11 percent increase in crop production and 9 percent reduction in input expenses.

Computer usage on the farm was also reported to have increased by almost 150 percent between 1997 and 2019 highlighting just how indispensable successful implementation of AgTech has become for Agriculture operations today.

The internet-of-things (IoT) integrates automated equipment, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), to give farmers the ability to measure and analyze their operations.

With the implementation of information-based technology, utilizing data-driven decisions allows for increased usage of crops through cloud computing.

Agriculture Cyber Risk Security software is a great example – it can tailor soil properties and supply site-specific fertilizers.

Moreover, heavy monitoring vitalizes this security system with its abilities to detect crop stress, pest outbreaks, and even predict weather around the farm based on sophisticated weather models. This addition of smart technology in farming should not be ignored!

Recent Cyber Attacks in Agriculture 

Agricultural Cyber Security Risks are increasing but with the adoption of Agriculture technology and the internet of things (IoT) in recent years, the food and ag sector has become increasingly vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks.

According to a report issued by the FBI on September 1, 2021, six grain cooperatives suffered from attacks that fall, followed by two more targeting seed and fertilizer operations early in 2022.

Agriculture Cyber Risk Security was highlighted as a growing issue due to IoT technologies that are used in small and mid-size farm operations making them targets as well and not just big corporations.

As preventative measures, continuity plans have been implemented for large farms and additional cybersecurity protocols have been put into place for small farmers as well.

Agriculture Cyber Risk is an ever evolving field that requires constant protection in order to keep the industry safe.

Six Ways to Protect Agricultural Cyber Security Risks

1. Implement a Screening Policy for Phishing Campaigns 

Agriculture Cyber Security Risks has become an increasingly pressing issue due to the potential for phishing campaigns and other malicious cyber threats to deliberately disrupt or manipulate sensitive information and operational systems.

The most common way for cybercriminals to carry out this type of attack is by sending emails with links containing malware; however, they may use current events as a means of gaining access to data.

Referred to as AAAA Threats by the Jahns Research Group, these risk factors have the capability of completely disrupting production and processing in agriculture-based industries.

Without proper Agriculture Cyber Risk Security measures in place, businesses are at greater risk to be targeted by these malicious actors and potentially suffer devastating consequences.

It can be difficult to tell if an email is part of a phishing scam. Before you click on any links, take extra precautions by looking for suspicious signs.

A red flag would be if the sender’s email address doesn’t match their name, as well as if the greeting is generic and not addressed to you by name. Another warning sign is if there are spelling errors or odd sentence structure.

If the message seems too urgent and demands that you click now or there are limited supplies available, it should be considered suspect. Similarly, any request for personal or financial information must not be honored; scammers will often disguise this type of activity through friendly emails or text messages.

Cybercriminals want to deceive unsuspecting victims – but by raising awareness amongst your employees and implementing security training, you can make sure that incoming emails from unknown sources are properly examined and reviewed before being clicked on.

2. Protect User Credentials 

Having different login credentials when multiple people access your software is essential for keeping your data secure.

Each user should be granted appropriate access rights to the relevant parts of the system, and those permissions should be regularly checked and updated.

Updating passwords every quarter is a smart habit, as it prevents unauthorized access to important information.

This extra step allows you to stay abreast of any potential breaches and take action quickly before any data falls into the wrong hands.

3. Back Up Files 

Ransomware should not be taken lightly. It can strike at any time, leaving your vital data vulnerable to malicious entities seeking to hold it hostage.

The only way to best protect yourself from ransomware attacks is by backing up data across multiple secure sources.

This could mean setting up backups with different computers or cloud services that are protected by industry-standard security measures and regular updates.

By doing this, it will give you the peace of mind that if a ransomware attack does occur, you are much better equipped to contain it and regain access to your data without having to surrender to demands of the attacker.

4. Keep Software Updated 

As essential infrastructure continues to improve, so does the need for upgraded antivirus software.

Every tweak or update made to improve the system also brings potential weaknesses. Taking a few minutes to complete recommended upgrades can drastically reduce risk of malware intrusion in your system.

Through these updates, any existing flaws within the system are fixed and better protections are applied through strengthened encryption and revised algorithms.

By staying current with updates, owners of these systems benefit from enhanced protection against malicious attacks that may be looking to take advantage of existing vulnerabilities in the system.

5. Have a Contingency Plan in Place 

Cyber security is an issue of vital importance for farmers, yet a 2014 Farm Bureau survey has highlighted the lack of contingency plans in place in the event that their information was breached.

Most dishearteningly, only one in twenty farmers surveyed reported that their data management companies had provided them with a plan, signalling a massive disconnect between companies and the farmers they serve.

This is unfortunate, as having such plans to refer to in case of an attack can not only help you react faster but also minimize its impact on your operation.

There’s no telling when and how a breach might happen, so it pays to be prepared at all times.

6. Avoid Releasing Sensitive Information Through Written Forms of Communication 

The safety and security of personal data needs to be treated with the utmost importance.

Whether it is your own information or that of an employee, a careless mistake in the transfer of sensitive material can leave the people involved vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.

For this reason, it is essential that digital messages such as emails and texts be avoided when transmitting sensitive data, since online communications are not secure from hacking or snooping. When possible, opt for verbal interaction or physical meetings to protect sensitive information.

If you must use email for such transfers, make sure you encrypt the message prior to sending it by using a service such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

By taking these steps you can help protect yourself and your employees from harm.

Conclusion on Agricultural Cyber Security Risks

Agriculture technology is becoming an essential part of agriculture, but cyber risk remains a major concern.

Agricultural Cyber Security Risks are unavoidable. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your operation from malicious attacks, such as updating passwords regularly, backing up files across multiple secure sources, keeping software updated and having a contingency plan in place.

Additionally, sensitive information should be transmitted verbally or through physical meetings to prevent identity theft and fraud.

By following these food and agriculture cyber security best practices you will be better equipped to handle any potential threats that may come your way.

Sara Jackson
Sara Jacksonhttps://www.magzica.com
Introducing Sara Jakson, an accomplished author with a passion for celebrity journalism. With her keen eye for detail and captivating writing style, Sara has become renowned for her insightful articles on the lives of the rich and famous. Her ability to uncover the hidden stories behind the glitz and glamour has made her a trusted voice in the industry. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of celebrities as Sara Jakson takes you on an unforgettable literary journey.

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