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Nowadays, farming might look a little different than it looked 100 years ago. Using data collected by GPS, satellite imagery, internet-connected sensors and other technologies, many farmers are able to farm more efficiently. Unfortunately, these advancements may have a downside to them – opening yourself to new threats.
As time goes on farmers are trying to produce more food but with fewer resources, pushing the food production system toward its breaking point. Precision agriculture technologies lead to more efficient use of land, water, fuel, fertilizer and pesticides so that farmers can grow more, reduce costs and minimize their impact on the environment. Why should farmers not utilize these incredible capabilities?
The conversation.com write that these new technologies are creating opportunities for extremists, terrorists and adversarial governments to attack farming machinery, with the aim of disrupting food production. The integration of technologies into farm equipment, from GPS-guided tractors to artificial intelligence, potentially increases the ability of hackers to attack this equipment. And though farmers might not be ideal targets for ransomware attacks, farms could be tempting targets for hackers with other motives, including terrorists.
Disruption to sensitive industries and infrastructure gives attackers higher returns for their efforts. This means that the increasing stress on the global food supply raises the stakes and creates a stronger motivation to disrupt the agriculture sector. Unlike other critical industries such as finance and health care, the farming industry has been slow to recognize cybersecurity risks and take steps to mitigate them. As of today, most farmers do not view cybersecurity as a significant threat.
Many hackers have already begun to exploit the vulnerabilities of agricultural technologies, and the results always cause long-term damage to the environment. While other critical infrastructure industries have developed and published numerous countermeasures and best practices for cybersecurity, the same cannot be said for the farming sector.
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