The business of farming has changed a lot in a relatively small amount of time. The use of technology to improve profitability, to better utilise resources, and to gather data with which to make decisions has grown significantly.
With this increase of “on-the-farm” technology as well as the use of software in the office for banking, tax requirements, apps, and email, it’s time to also increase our focus on the importance of cybersecurity in agriculture.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is defined as the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorised use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.
What could be at risk?
For farmers the possible threats include destruction of equipment, data theft, financial scams, and malicious altering of systems or data that could cause errors in decision making across anything from when to water or spray, to budgets and payroll.
Top Cybersecurity Tips:
- Keep your software up to date on all your devices.
Out of date software may contain vulnerabilities that are targeted by opportune hackers. Check your router software as well as those on your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
- Change default hardware passwords as well as user passwords.
You know that new toy/camera/fridge/ farm equipment that you bought that connects to the internet? Often, they come with standard passwords that are the same for every other one sold, so make sure that you change them as soon as you can. Your system login passwords should also be changed often (and don’t keep them stuck to the computer on a post-it note). Pin or password protect your mobile devices.
- Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software.
Buy them, use them, and keep them updated to the latest versions.
- Back-up your files to at least one, if not two secure locations that are kept separate from your local network.
A removable hard-drive or and/or a secure cloud service are good options.
- Don’t click on that!
Most malware and viruses are downloaded through schemes known as phishing which target users directly through emails or sites that are made to look like legitimate websites. Always check the sender prior to downloading any email attachments, and if in doubt, call the sender to see whether the email really came from them. You can keep up to date with scams via websites like Scamwatch.
Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.
Ensuring that each employee, family member, and external stakeholder who has access to your network is aware of your cybersecurity policies and procedures and the importance of adhering to them is one of the most effective ways to stay safe. This may include asking anyone who has access to or stores financial or digital data such as accountants or suppliers about how they secure your information.
Article kindly supplied by Activ8me.