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Unique User Names and Passwords, Timely Software Updates, Regular Backups Key to Improved Cybersecurity

The General Manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture suggests the use of unique user names and passwords for each internet account, keeping all software up to date and diligently maintaining backups are the first steps to improving cybersecurity.Cybersecurity for your Farm" was discussed last month as part of Saskatchewan Pork industry Symposium 2023 in Saskatoon.

Cathy Lennon, the General Manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, says as online hackers become more sophisticated the need for stepped up awareness and heightened cybersecurity become more critical.

Quote-Cathy Lennon-Ontario Federation of Agriculture:

I think the three easiest ones to implement on the farm or in your business right away are to be very careful about user names and passwords.Make sure, first of all, that they're not shared and make sure that you're unique in your passwords.

For instance, if you use the same email address and the same password everywhere that you go, it's easy to remember and I understand why people often do that but it means, if there's a breach anywhere, that means that individual now has access to all of your banking or programs or systems.So, unique passwords and not sharing them is very important.

Another thing to do is always take the upgrades.So, in your phone or in your computer or your programs that you're using, don't press later.When it says we've identified that there is a better updated version of this software, often times it's because that company has identified a risk or a threat and they're doing the best on their end to try to stop it.

I think the third thing that people can do that's really practical is be really diligent with backing up your system because, in some ways regrettably, it's not a matter of if you experience a cyber-attack, it's a matter of when and if you have a good quality recent backup you can get your business up and running as quickly as possible and move on.

Lennon says, if you have a phone or an iPad or a computer, if you do online banking, if you have a system in your barn or in your combine that's run through the internet, you are vulnerable.

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