According to a SoftPedia.com report, farmers who employ Internet-connected and precision farming equipment should be very mindful of the way they configure their devices, the FBI warned in a public statement advisory at the end of March.
The Bureau, together with the USDA, issued the note on March 31, as an alert to the growing threat of IoT security.
The FBI is particularly warning against data breaches that may expose farming data saved with various companies or on cloud accounts.
“While precision agriculture technology (a.k.a. smart farming) reduces farming costs and increases crop yields, farmers need to be aware of and understand the associated cyber risks to their data and ensure that companies entrusted to manage their data, including digital management tool and application developers and cloud service providers, develop adequate cybersecurity and breach response plans.”
Hacktivism May Also Play a Part
Additionally, the FBI is also sounding the alarm against hacktivists who might target farmers as a way of protesting against the US’ agricultural policies.
An incident like this happened last fall, when a anonymous hacker leaked data of USDA employees to protest against Monsanto, a multi-national corporation activating in the agricultural sector.
Because farmers have taken advantage of the recent technological breakthroughs and have populated their farms with so-called “smart” equipment, they have also exposed themselves as targets to hackers who may leverage the Internet connections that this machinery may now need.