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Cybersecurity in modern agriculture needs to be addressed

In October 2020, researchers highlighted the need to implement cybersecurity in the agricultural sector as it is getting more data-oriented over time.

Advanced technologies are becoming essential to increase efficiency in agricultural production while limiting its impact on the environment. The growing global population makes efficiency a necessity in food production. This implies that more data is being gathered with the new digital solutions and thus there is an increased need for cybersecurity in the sector.

The European Union (EU) has launched projects in order to accelerate the implementation of technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Computing. For instance:

  • The IoF2020 – Internet of Food 2020 – project intends to increase the speed of adoption of IoT to ensure sufficient, safe and healthy food for the population, and strengthen the competitiveness of the EU farming and food chains. The project was launched in January 2017 and will end in March 2021.
  • The AFarCloud – Aggregate Farming in the Cloud – project aims to provide a distributed platform for autonomous farming. The project will support the integration and cooperation of agriculture Cyber Physical Systems in real-time. AfarCloud was launched in September 2018 and will end in August 2021.

The substantial amount of agricultural data made available by these new technologies is prone to cyberattacks. In the AFarCloud project, participants are developing middleware defining software components and procedures. Part of this middleware is the cross-layer cybersecurity management (CSM) service. It aims at protecting data from attacks. However, the cybersecurity dimension could be emphasized as they are yet barely addressed by European agricultural regulations. For more information about the significance of cybersecurity in the agricultural sector, please read the article here.

The Advanced Technology for Industry (ATI) project has recently published a sectoral watch on technological trends in the agri-food industry. The reports analyses trends in the generation and uptake of advanced technologies, related entrepreneurial activities and skills needed in the agri-food sector, looking at Industrial Biotechnology, Robotics, Big Data and IoT.

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