AMES, Iowa — Farmers and those employed in the agricultural industry should be mindful of the risks involved with internet security and what they can do to keep themselves and their companies safe.
With so much activity being done online, farmers share the same risks as those employed in other industries — sometimes even more so.
According to Doug Jacobson and Ally Frickel, electrical and computer engineering specialists at Iowa State University, the farming sector is sometimes targeted by cyber criminals because of farming’s critical function — supplying the food and fiber that humans and animals depend upon.
“These attackers kind of tend to roll from sector to sector and it seems like farming and ag is kind of the new sector,” Jacobson said in a university news release.
Individuals can be just as susceptible as large companies.
In an effort to educate farmers and companies, Jacobson and Frickel cover some of the basic cybersecurity practices farmers should be doing — mitigation tactics related to email use, malware, authentication passwords, and the importance of creating backups of important files.
Not only do backups help in the event of a cyber attack, but they also help in the event of a natural disaster, or a lost or stolen computer device.
The key takeaways are:
- No legitimate organization will ever ask for your bank information, social security number or password.
- Use multifactor authentication.
- Consider using cloud-based backup to protect from cyberattacks and natural disasters.
- If you need the help of a tech person, there are many qualified people who can help.
“I think the attackers are getting more creative and in some cases going after those in a more critical, life-or-death enterprise,” Frickel said.