The biggest threat isn't so much to the individual farmer but the companies on which we depend. Here is a pull quote:
"A group of less than 10 people were able to pretty much get root [the highest level of access] on John Deere’s Operations Center, which connects to every other third party connectivity service that they have. You know, you can get every farms’ data, every farms’ water, I’m talking everything. We had like the keys to the kingdom. And that was just a few people in two days."
Think of all the services you count on to help run your business. Then imagine a disruption that might drag on for weeks. Maybe an entire elevator company can't take grain because they've been hacked. They have no way to retrieve your contract information or pay their employees. Imagine you can't get parts during harvest because a dealer network has been attacked.
"Connectivity and centralization could create opportunities for threat actors—state sponsored or otherwise—to throw a wrench in the workings of our critical infrastructure. Attackers could potentially provide false data to farming equipment, change the temperature in greenhouses, alter the composition of fertilizers, or bring businesses to a crashing halt by deploying ransomware. All of which could lead to shortages and increased food costs."
I don't want to be alarmist...but I do hope the IT people in the ag industry are following the FBI's guidelines, listed in the article -- at a bare minimum. I also know that at least one person at every major ag company reads AgTalk on a daily basis. Go to your IT departments and express these concerns. I'd ask you to e-mail them the link to the article...but you do have e-mail links disabled. Right?