As reported by BBC News, modern “smart” farm machinery is vulnerable to malicious hackers, leaving global supply chains exposed to risk, experts are warning. It is feared hackers could exploit flaws in agricultural hardware used to plant and harvest crops. Agricultural manufacturing giant John Deere says it is now working to fix any weak spots in its software. A recent University of Cambridge report said automatic crop sprayers, drones and robotic harvesters could be hacked. The UK government and the FBI have warned that the threat of cyber-attacks is growing.
Tractors may not seem the most obvious target to hack, but cybercriminals are astute enough to understand the repercussions and will go after systems which will fund their business model. The problem with farming machinery is that it often relies on unpatched third party devices or is connected to out of date hardware which, when forced to update, can affect the desired output. Therefore these devices are left at risk and become highly targeted by attackers. Real-world impact from cybercrime is growing at a rate that is becoming a huge worry to society and far more needs to be put in place to protect the most vulnerable.