Workshop identifies cybersecurity training needed to protect U.S. food supply

Add cyberattacks to the list of potential hazards facing America’sfood supplyas evidenced by recent ransomware attacks and other bio data breeches at U.S. food and agricultural companies.VirginiaTech University worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture to hold a workshop to identify gaps in security that create vulnerabilities in food and agricultural systems. More than 200 challenges were identified during the session. A primaryproblemis the lack of infrastructure and expertise in the industry to address cybersecurity. The majority of small-to moderate-sized agribusinesses lack the resources to monitor and protect their bio data.Overall goals to protect the industryinclude the need to train future food and agricultural employeesin cybersecurity to better prepare them to manage digital data. A need for a common cybersecurity language was also identified to promote effective communication about cyber threats to the food system. And, collaborations that include industry, government, law enforcement and higher education are needed to find strategies to address cyber attacks.

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