Agriculture is a Target for Cyber Attacks
Agriculture is the second-largest targeted industry of cyber attacks. Cyber criminals know that there will be a payout to restore agribusinesses due to how essential they are to the food supply. This is the word from Special Agent Byron Franz with the Milwaukee Division of the FBI.
Franz… “People eating is critical to everybody, and I can tell you that cyber threat actors are increasingly targeting food and agriculture businesses in the United States because they know that the likelihood of the payout is greater because it's so critical. It's a critical infrastructure, and it's gotten worse because the attack surface continues to grow with the use on farms and so on of internet of things, devices, IOT devices, and all segments of their work.”
Agriculture has seen cyber-attacks on international commodity trading firms, national meat packers, and regional grain cooperatives. Franz says physical threats also exist.
Franz… “Agriculture has not been immune of people trying to steal secrets from farming and seeding and so on. And as an example, I'll give you that in 2011, a guy named Mo Hailong who was working for a Chinese tech group, was spotted crawling through Iowa cornrows twice and pocketing Pioneer and Monsanto seed corn. Through an investigation, he was subsequently charged and convicted.”
Franz said money is of course the primary motivator for these cyber criminals.