First-ever cyber security advice for farmers released

22 Dec 2020 03:54 PM

The NCSC and NFU have issued cyber security guidance for the agricultural sector.

Farmers will for the first time have access to tailor-made cyber security advice published yesterday (Tuesday) in response to the growing use of technology in the agriculture sector.

The new Cyber Security for Farmers guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) will provide the farming community with the tools and information it needs to protect itself from the most common cyber attacks, including scam emails and malicious software.

Businesses in the agricultural sector are increasingly taking advantage of the benefits modern farming technology can provide, such as GPS, remote sensors, and farm management software.

But with official statistics showing a rise in reports of cyber attacks against the farming community, and in the wake of well-documented incidents such as spoof farm machinery adverts leaving farmers thousands of pounds out of pocket, the NCSC and NFU are urging the sector to act on the new guidance.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society, yesterday said:

“Technology plays a huge role in modern farming and offers many benefits that will help the industry to thrive in the 21st century.

“We are teaming up with the NFU to share best online practice to the sector, as an increased use of technology also sees an increased risk of being targeted by cyber criminals.

“Staying safe online might seem daunting, but the actionable advice in ‘Cyber Security for Farmers’ will help the sector to stay as safe as possible while embracing the latest technology.”

The advice, which can be found in full on the NCSC’s website, includes guidance on

Stuart Roberts, Deputy President at the NFU, yesterday said:

“Rural crime is a huge issue for farm businesses and we rightly look to protect our farm buildings, machinery and our livestock. However, we all live and work in a digital world and we must be conscious of the threats this can bring to our businesses.

“It’s incredibly important that farmers take this seriously, which is why we’ve teamed up with the experts in the National Cyber Security Centre to help produce this guidance. I would urge all farmers to read this advice and take the necessary steps to reinforce their cyber security and protect their farm business.”

The NCSC is committed to raising cyber security and resilience across every part of the UK, and this includes supporting businesses, academia, and the charity sector, as well as the public through the Cyber Aware campaign.

The NCSC has published tailored advice and guidance to support a variety of sectors, including the sports industry and small businesses.