The agricultural industry has for a long time been viewed as at low risk from potential cyber attacks.
However, with more farms adopting new technologies cybercrime is becoming an increasingly severe threat to agri-businesses.
The number of attacks is on the rise and important areas to address this include anti-fraud and anti-theft systems.
More machines and devices connecting to the internet widens the threat landscape and increases potential vectors.
Organisations commonly do not know what is connected to their network and cannot spot anomalous or malicious behaviour.
The problem is only becoming exacerbated as Operational Technology (OT), such as manufacturing and production environments, are being attacked, which ultimately compromises the future of food production.
The ability to take over or glean data from these systems may be a national threat to food supply chains.
In addition, there has been a rise in farm thefts relating to high value GPS kit.
Recommendations: Network connectivity is wide and varied and will continue to evolve.
A way to combat future technology threats is to include more ingress/ egress points and IT/OT networks which need to be secured.
Compromised systems or devices can cause loss of revenue, reputational damage and loss of intellectual property.
Utilising built-in cyber and anti-theft systems as part of the agritech development process will link in as well to the adoption of better technology on-farm as farmers will be able to deploy this technology safely and securely
Farms are remote and often located in rural areas with poor connectivity.
Traditional ‘over the air’ technologies, such as satellite, provide variable performance and can often have expensive usage limits.
As such a move toward the Internet of Things means that more devices are using connectivity which leads to performance issues.
Recommendations: Farms need increased connectivity to support the streamlined adoption of autonomous systems in the future.
Information systems infrastructure must be developed apace of new autonomous technologies to support the rapid adoption of technology such as autonomous agricultural vehicles on-farm.
An example is the Hands-Free Farm which uses LoRaWAN, 4G, Zigbee, RTK and drones, which are all connected devices, to operate efficiently.
The case for using 5G in farming shows promise, although the superfast networking technology is only beginning to be applied in agriculture.
5G is currently being rolled out through the 5G Rural First project.