The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have issued guidance to help the agricultural sector stay secure in cyberspace. It is the first time farmers have been given tailor-made cybersecurity advice and is the latest in a series of NCSC efforts to bolster cyber resilience across British businesses.
The new Cyber Security for Farmers guidance recognizes a growing use of information technology and operational technology across the farming sector. It aims to provide the tools and information that the farming community needs to protect itself from the most common cyber attacks, including scam emails and malicious software.
Businesses in the agricultural sector are increasingly taking advantage of the benefits modern farming technology can provide, such as GPS, remote sensors, and farm management software. But with official statistics showing a rise in reports of cyber attacks against the farming community, and in the wake of well-documented incidents such as spoof farm machinery adverts, the NCSC and NFU are urging the sector to act on the new guidance.
The advice includes guidance on protecting farms against malware, keeping devices up to date, where to go for help, backing up data, and dealing with scam emails, text messages, and phone calls.
“Rural crime is a huge issue for farm businesses and we rightly look to protect our farm buildings, machinery and our livestock,” said Stuart Roberts, Deputy President at the NFU. “However, we all live and work in a digital world and we must be conscious of the threats this can bring to our businesses. It’s incredibly important that farmers take this seriously, which is why we’ve teamed up with the experts in the National Cyber Security Centre to help produce this guidance. I would urge all farmers to read this advice and take the necessary steps to reinforce their cybersecurity and protect their farm business.”