Ways to protect your systems from a hack

The recent hack of JBS’ computer systems is a reminder of just how vulnerable agribusinesses are to a cyberattack.

“We’re seeing the ramifications of poor cybersecurity best practices in corporations,” says Michael Levin, CEO of the Center for Information Security Awareness. “We’ve got to do a better job of hardening the target. There’s too many open doors on a lot of these systems.”

But farmers themselves are becoming more vulnerable, he says, as more things on the farm — tractors, combines, sprayers — are connected to the internet of things, opening up another avenue for cyberattacks.

The good news is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money, or even time, to become better protected from a cyberattack. But it does require a change in mindset.

“The problem is now, there is no one teaching U.S. citizens how to protect themselves,” Levin says. “They usually don’t learn until they’re victimized.”

Levin, who is a former Secret Service agent and former deputy director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security, works with law enforcement and private companies on how to create a culture where people are better educated and focused on cybersecurity. His clients include several farm credit financial companies and credit unions.

While cyberattacks have gotten more sophisticated, the way hackers get into a system hasn’t changed: They’ll choose the path of least resistance.

That means targeting people through emails by asking them to open a file, or clicking on a link, that looks official but is a way for hackers to get into the system.

“The No. 1 thing people have to do is slow down when they’re opening email. It can be very dangerous,” Levin says. “We’re training the employees not just how to be safe at work, but how to be safe at home. Ninety percent of the stuff I talk about is good for work and home.”

ways to get hacked infographic

Anything that’s connected to the internet, including your iPhone or Android device, is a potential security breach, Levin says. The key to protecting yourself is making sure you’re aware of simple things that can reduce your risk.

“If I can…