Utilizing complex passwords and multifactor authentication are among the foundational tools Iowa’s farmers and agricultural businesses should implement to protect their operations from hackers and threat actors looking to cause havoc to their computer systems or extort money through ransomware demands.

Cybersecurity stakeholders met this fall at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames to brainstorm solutions for the growing challenge of ag cybersecurity and protecting the food and agriculture industry.

The consensus was to continue sharing information and develop programming that encourages the ag industry to stick to the fundamentals of protection — meaning secure data, information and equipment with complex passwords and two-factor authentication while also backing up information.

“This is a local, regional, national crisis that we are working on,” said Peter Dorhout, vice president for research at ISU. 

“Economic, social, political implications that affect our food security.”

Added Paul Hershberger, president of the Information Technology – Information Sharing and Analysis Center and Cargill Cyber Command...