AgriGrowth director sees cyberattacks as next big agriculture disruptor

The director of Minnesota AgriGrowth sees cyber threats as the next big disruptor in agriculture.

Tamara Nelsen tells Brownfield hackers seem to be getting more adept while industries become more exposed.

“How many companies have had to add robotics or automation to their factories, farms, or freezer systems over the last 18 months because of COVID? Because of either employees not being able to get there, being sick, or management can’t be in the office.”

She says every time something is added to the system unprotected, it opens a potential window for a cyberattack.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want to say how they’re preventing it because then that might just allow a hacker to think of a new idea.”

In early June a ransomware attack on JBS shuttered nine beef plants and disrupted production at pork and poultry plants across the U.S.

Last month, Iowa-based New Cooperative fell victim to a ransomware attack by a group called BlackMatter, which claimed it stole the cooperative’s financial information, human resources data, and development information and source code for New Cooperative’s SoilMap product.

Nelsen says cyberattacks and cyber security will be discussed during the AgriGrowth Minnesota Ag and Food Summit November 4th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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