Nowadays, with the current advancement in technologies has overseen development of many farming equipment implementing these technologies. Due to the modern spread use of ‘smart’ farming machinery has made food supply chains across the world to be vulnerable to malicious hackers.
This came from a recent report by the UK’s University of Cambridge, which warned that automatic crop sprayers, drones and robotic harvesters were in danger of being hacked, as flaws in agricultural hardware used to plant and harvest crops could be exploited. According to BBC News, the UK government and the FBI had recently warned about the growing threat of cyber attacks.
The report stated that although the latest generation of agricultural robots using artificial intelligence minimized human involvement and alleviated a labour shortage or increased yields, there were fears that they presented an inherent security risk. The report also indicated that even the largest companies were not safe from cybercriminals who used ransomware to encrypt data and lock systems. In 2021, JBS, one of the world’s largest meat processing companies, paid US$11 million in ransom to resolve a cyber attack, while top US agriculture firm Agco was hit by a ransomware attack in April this year, affecting production.
A n ‘ethical hacker’, who refers to himself as ‘Sick Codes’ and who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said he had found vulnerabilities in systems used by a large, multi-national equipment manufacturer. He added that it was simply a matter of time before a sophisticated hacker found critical vulnerabilities and “cause[d] major disruption to already vulnerable food supply chains”.