8 Ways to Secure Your Agribusiness Assets to Keep Cyber Attacks Away

Paying for food bills using mobile phone
As a young farmer participating in agriculture with the support of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), you need to be aware that such gadgets are made of software and hardware with security weaknesses. ICTs include mobile/landline telephones, computers, televisions, Internet connections among others. 

Software are the intangible instructions running on the device enabling the user to view, interact and send commands to the device to produce a desired result. The hardware is a the physical tangible component that you can touch and hold in your hands. Both software and hardware function in harmony to enable a device to successfully carryout an assigned task. 

When an attacker, takes possession of your device, you have essentially lost access to a tool relevant for creating value in your agribusiness. What is less visible is when an attacker, infects your device with malicious software (malware) that gets embedded deep into the device, with the intent of stealing your sensitive business data

This form of attack, which happens when an attacker gets physical access to your devices or via infecting your device because it is accessible online is increasingly becoming a global challenge to defend against, though with a few measures, the impact of a cyber attack can be reduced.

When attacker has stolen your sensitive data, the result of which is that you get locked out of your devices by ransomware with attacker asking to be paid in cryptocurrency before releasing the key to regain access to your files, folders, applications and databases. And when you refuse to pay the ransomware demands, the attacker autions your data and publishes it online for everyone to access. 

Ransomware attacks are especially devasting to small business with over 60 percent going bankrupt after a cyber attack, and others facing damages to business reputation, disruption of business operations and huge financial losses. 

There are a few proactive steps you should take to reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber attack against your agribusiness:

  1. Backup your business data, especially sensitive and critical business data, and keep your backups offline. Be sure to test the backups that they work and can be successfully restored when needed. 

  2. Segment your network, to separate the network with your most valuable assets (crown jewels) away from all the others.

  3. Use strong passwords and enable two-step verification via a token sent to your mobile phone or authentication app.

  4. Install critical software updates to patch vulnerabilities in your assets when they become available from Microsoft and other suppliers.

  5. Practice telling fake messages from legitimate ones using free online phishing quizzes.

  6. Prepare short and concise business policy guides, by customizing free online policy templates, to guide your employees on business best practices.

  7. Prepare a list with ransomware detection and decryption services that provide solutions for removing ransomware without paying the ransom, in the event you fall victim to ransomware.

  8. Keep improving your knowledge regarding keeping your business data and systems safe online using free online courses, some of which offer certificates and degrees from top universities.

In conclusion, prevention is always better than cure, and becoming proactive greatly lowers risk of a successful attack on your agribusiness. Correcting an adverse event after an attack takes alot of time, money and effort without a guarantee that your business will survive. Be sure to reach out to us if you need assistance.

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