What is the cybersecurity threat in agriculture? And is it lurking behind every corn stalk?


“The trust in the food chain starts in the dirt and ends on the table,” says Dale Meyerrose, retired Air Force major general and the first chief information officer for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

At the recent PrecisionAg Vision Conference he said, “Whenever you use technology to create value, it presents an opportunity for an evil-doer to exploit it. Most compromises and data losses are created by the user’s own behavior. The idea that there are cyber criminals out there who are highly trained and skilled is more myth than fact. Most cybersecurity breaches are done with a phishing email or from a website.”

He describes four areas that present a cybersecurity threat in agriculture:

  1. access to services,
  2. personal privacy areas,
  3. proprietary information, and
  4. IP

“Once someone is more aware of threat in agriculture,” says Meyerrose, “they often think they have to worry about the security risk behind every corn stalk. In reality, they need to be worried about how they set up their network, enterprise systems, technology, etc. Think about the Target security compromise of 2013. They got into the point of sales stuff through an air conditioning vendor who did not follow the rules.”

 

What is the Cybersecurity Threat in Agriculture?

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