Are enough farmers taking data security seriously?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is encouraging farmers and ranchers to take steps to secure their operation’s data from cyber threats.

Eugene Kowel with the Omaha FBI Field Office says producers need to have a plan in place before an attack happens. “We encourage especially the larger producers, to reach out to the FBI, make that contact, build that connection. There’s a variety of groups you can join that we foster that shares information, and we share intelligence as we see it.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue tells Brownfield some producers aren’t taking the issue seriously. “How do we ensure that the weird nexus between when I’m out there, planting the fact that I may have a chip in I’m going directly to cloud? To understand that there may be something just sitting there in my monitor waiting or collecting data that that’s pretty foreign to us.”

He says the entire food supply chain needs to have protections in place, too. “Does that that second or third party have their security in place? The data that we’re collecting, do we actually have an air gap where we can actually disconnect that so that’s not continually connected to the internet?”

And, McHargue says, it’s vital that producers and farm organizations partner with law enforcement since they are unable protect the industry if information isn’t being shared.

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