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Don't Let Cyber Threats Wreck Your Farm's Future

As a Farmer in the UK, you will know all too well the challenges of running a successful farm and business. From unpredictable weather to supply chain disruptions, you're no stranger to navigating complex risks.


Did you know there’s one risk that often goes under the radar? Cyber-attacks in today’s digital landscape can be detrimental to family farms. These attacks can cripple your operations, compromise sensitive data, and cost you thousands.

 

It’s critical that you take proactive steps to protect your farm from the growing dangers of cybercrime, as sadly no one is safe. To help, we have worked with the National Cyber Security Centre to provide some simple practical steps to fortify your digital defences.

 

  • Use strong passwords and implement robust password policies

    • Cyber criminals trade stolen username and password combinations which they try out on accounts around the internet. They also try common, easily-guessed passwords randomly against different accounts, hoping to strike lucky.

    • Use separate passwords for each of your devices and online accounts, especially email accounts. Wherever possible, make the password strong. And for your most important accounts, make it unique.

    • National Cyber Security Centre guidance on passwords can be found at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/three-randomwords-or-thinkrandom-0

  • Enable two-step verification across all accounts

    • Two-step verification double-checks that it’s really you trying to log into your account. It means that even if a criminal knows your password, they won’t be able to access your accounts. So, if you are given the option to turn on 2SV, you should do it.

    • Check the Settings for each of your important accounts to see that 2FA is enabled. Visit Cyber Aware (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberaware/home) for step by step instructions on how to turn on 2SV for your email, social media and online bank accounts.

  • Keep your farm management software, devices, and systems updated with the latest security patches

    • Like any piece of machinery, computers and mobile phones need regular maintenance and servicing to ensure they work effectively and securely. Most of this essential maintenance can be achieved by ensuring the operating system and installed software on your devices are regularly updated. This process is known as ‘patching.’

    • The easiest way to make sure that your device and your apps are kept up to date is to set updates to be installed automatically. This is always true for the major operating systems: Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. However, other software may require you to manually install updates.

  • Train your team to spot phishing attempts and other social engineering tactics used by hackers

    • During the period from 2022-2023, some 50% of businesses experienced some form of cyber security breach or attack, this highlights the importance of training your employees to spot attempted attacks and respond appropriately.

    • At the SECRC, we provide affordable Cyber Security Awareness Training that is tailored to your business to provide the right level of skills and context. We use cyber security trainers who are highly knowledgeable, personable and friendly so your employees will feel comfortable and be able to ask questions.

  • Back up your data regularly and store copies offline to prevent ransomware from encrypting files

    • Making regular backups of your important data and keeping these backups somewhere physically separate will save you from the worst of effects of a malware or ransomware attack.

    • Keep the copy separate from your computer, possibly on a USB storage device, separate hard drive, or separate computer. You could also use cloud services to back up your files, so that a fire or theft from site won’t result in you losing both copies  

Don't let cyber threats jeopardise everything you've worked so hard to build. Take action today to safeguard your farm's future. Click to learn more about protecting your agricultural business from digital risks.


Need further support? The South East Cyber Resilience Centre can assist you with additional options:

 

The South East Cyber Resilience Centre (SECRC) itself is a small business which has been set up as a police-private sector-academia partnership, with the simple aim of raising cyber resilience across the South East region. Whilst cyber security can be complex and costly, the SECRC offers a free membership option which helps you understand some of the risks from cybercrime, but also offering support and guidance to businesses in the region.

 

 

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