Staying safe online — cyberattacks on agriculture are a growth industry


When it comes to cybersecurity, often times the mentality can be “it happens to the big guys, it won’t happen to me.”

The unfortunate reality is that cyberattacks are a growing industry, and in order to protect yourself and your company, you have to understand the risks and how to be less of a target.

Chris Law, partner at MNP, was at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference last month to discuss these risks, and what some of the mitigation techniques are.

Cyberattacks are on the rise, says Law, as there are attacks every second. Which is where mitigation comes in.

“It’s one of those things where if we do the proper proactive preparation, we can deal with those attacks. It’s bound to happen. It’s going to happen to every organization, and just preparing for that will help us weather those attacks, and then continue doing our business.”

In agriculture, we use a lot of industrial control systems, which as Law explains, are the most vulnerable to attacks, because of how they are designed.

“These industrial control systems are designed to work all the time, no matter what,” he says. “The threat actors know that these are prime targets, easy to access, easy to shut down. And because they were not designed with security in mind, it gives them a huge target. At the same time, it makes us react much more quicker, and also much more with fear, because we know these are critical systems — yet we can’t do anything about it, except listen to what the threat actors would want.”

So, how do we take control of these uncontrollable situations? We increase our awareness, says Law, and practice and train ourselves to understand what we can do to help prevent these attacks, or make us less of a target.

“If you don’t know about it, you learn about it. But if you do know about it, you take the risk much lower than it was if you didn’t know about it,” he notes.

Check out the full conversation between Law and RealAgriculture Kara Oosterhuis, filmed at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference, at Banff, Alta:

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