Guest Blog on Cybersecurity in Agri-Food

August 15, 2022

The cybersecurity risks to the agriculture sector are well known at this point. In June, the Grand Farm did something about it. They convened a group of thought leaders (industry, government, non-profit, and academia) to discuss ways that the food and agriculture supply chain can mitigate and respond to cybersecurity (and related) threats in Fargo as a bolt-on to their June cornerstone Cultivate Conference.

A few general tips for ag/food professionals:

- Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for anything that matters (bank, credit cards, etc.). This means that you get a text (or something similar) when you enter a password.

- Know what the password to your internet router is and change it if it is the original password.

- What devices have access to your router? What are their passwords? Change them if they are the original password.

- Walk around your farm or business with your phone on. What Wi-Fi connections do you pick up? Do you recognize them?

- Go to Facebook security settings and locate website/app permissions. Disable any you don’t want or don’t recognize; this is a common way Facebook pages get hijacked.

- Check daily for updates on your phone and computer. They are patching holes as fast as they can, so don’t wait for the automatic update. Thieves don’t.

- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Be skeptical. The only free cheese is in the mousetrap. Catfishing is alive and well in the food/ag sector.

- Spend a couple of hours and run a what-if scenario in which you lose your computer network without warning. Can you make payroll without records?

- Report everything cyber related to – this is how the government can see trends develop and get ahead of the criminals. 

- If you meet the criteria, apply to join the IT-ISAC and their Food and Agriculture SIG.

- Sign up for the GrandFarm’s newsletter – they’ll be putting blogs out on simple ways to protect your business from cybercriminals (and related threats).

- Cybersecurity isn’t the only subject that the Grand Farm spotlights. See their full slate of events here. Ag innovation like this is impossible without stellar partners.

Fargo reminds me of an old Durham + Charleston, it didn’t have the mid-western vibe I expected. The Red River added to the southern feel. If it wasn’t for you betchas instead of y’alls, I would have thought I was int he resurgent hip part of an old southern city. 

Accolades to Governor Burgum and the investments he has made in both the Fargo real estate community and the innovation sector. North Dakota’s future looks bright.

Mark your calendars now for Fargo in June 2023. 

Andrew Rose

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