In an FBI industry note dated March 31, the Bureau said increased adoption of “precision farming” technology threatens to expose the agriculture sector to hacking and data theft.
“Historically, farming has lacked awareness of how their data should be protected from cyber exploitation,” the FBI said. That’s a dangerous precedent as farmers invest in connected and data-intensive equipment and services.
Possible risks include hacktivists who destroy data to protest use of GMOs or pesticides. Farm-level data may also be vulnerable to ransomware and data destruction, the FBI said.
Agriculture is also rife with pre-Internet era technologies that were developed and deployed without much thought to security.
As an example: the FBI notes that drone manufacturers are already pushing services to blend newer drones with legacy farm equipment and data – not dissimilar from the phenomenon that has played out in the healthcare field in recent years, as legacy equipment has been connected to general purpose hospital networks and, in some cases, the public Internet.