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Cyber Security for growers

Online connectivity is essential for grain growers and there is increasing adoption of digital technologies. This includes the use of computers for banking, record-keeping, meetings and market information as well as communication devices, drones, navigation, vehicles and farm machinery technologies.

GPS technologies, wireless and Bluetooth have become everyday necessities. The introduction of autonomous farm machinery and artificial intelligence will increase the requirement for real-time connectivity.

Grain Producers Australia recognises that with this reliance on digital technology, new threats to growers’ businesses have evolved.

Cyber breaches are becoming increasingly common and can be crippling, however, there are strategies that can minimise the chance of harm to your business.

Fortunately, growers can access numerous resources online, including instructional videos. These cover easy to implement strategies as well as more comprehensive guides. 

Useful information can be found in resources such as:

  1. AgriFutures 33-page book “Cyber security threats – are we prepared? and the two-page fact sheet Cyber security basics

  2. The National Cyber Security Centre’s 14-page booklet Cyber security for farmers: Practical tips on how to stay safe

  3. The published paper On-Farm Data Security: Practical Recommendations for Securing Farm Data

These references contain tips such as:

  • avoid remotely accessing farm equipment or computers over public wifi networks

  • back up data regularly and keep backups somewhere safe

  • be careful about emails that contain links

  • enable encryption (as part of the operating system)

  • ensure the firewall is switched on

  • ensure wifi connection is private

  • keep software up to date by setting updates to be installed automatically

  • keep devices safe from theft or damage

  • use role-based access restrictions for farm workers

  • implement multi-factor authentication

  • use strong passwords, change them regularly and consider using a password manager

  • always use up to date anti-virus software.

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