The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West (SWCRC) has joined forces with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and cyber intelligence company CYSIAM to host a free webinar in a bid to help the South West of England agri-farming industry better protect itself against the rising threat of cybercrime.
‘Cyber Security in Modern Farming’ from 11:00-11:45 on Tuesday 21 September, will see a panel of experts addressing the ever-evolving issue of cyber-attacks which farmers, growers, producers and machinery dealers face today.
Trainee Detective Inspector Ross Brown, the SWCRC’s head of cyber and innovation, will lead the session, with Ed Humber, county advisor at the NFU, David Allan, managing director and chief technology officer at CYSIAM, Stacey Lidgate, principal consultant at CYSIAM, along with a local farmer, contributing to discussions.
Topics will include the easy steps business owners and decision makers can take to reduce the risks, the ways in which attacks are affecting the industry, as well as the unique challenges of cyber security.
“The type of crime we see in farming, such as cattle and vehicle theft, is not changing but the methods in which criminals are doing this, is.” said Ross Brown from the SWCRC. “Farming is experiencing huge digital transformation and while it’s revolutionising the industry, criminals and hacktivists are exploiting vulnerabilities like unsecured Wi-Fi to gain unauthorised access into automated systems, CCTV, animal welfare reports, financial documentation and more, of which the pace and disruption is significant.
“The aim of the Cyber Security in Modern Farming webinar is to re-educate those in farming and agriculture about the cruciality of cyber security. We appreciate it may present as something complex, expensive or a luxury add-on, but the reality is regular, local people are losing their businesses at an alarming rate due to a lack of awareness and understanding. The main principles of safeguarding against online threats are actually very simple and don’t cost a penny.
“Collaborating with the NFU and CYSIAM is of huge importance. They are authorities in their respective areas, and both will really help drive forward the message and encourage the community to get on board with the urgent changes needed for continued sustainable and prosperous futures in farming.” Ross said.
Ed Humber, county advisor at the NFU, added: “We hope farmers will join in the webinar as cyber security is an issue we all need to be aware of. Farm businesses are complex, and many have diversified which has driven a need to both store and utilise more data in a digital format. Ultimately, using appropriate cyber security is key to protecting data from ransomware and other malicious attacks that could impact them. “
David Allan, managing director and chief technology officer at CYSIAM, commented: “To make farming more efficient, there is need to increase connectivity between farmers, their information technology and their operational technology. This inevitably leads to an increased attack surface on modern farms and therefore leaves the UK farming sector vulnerable.”