|May 27, 2022|
Agriculture smart tech opens possibility of food cyber attacks
|(Nanowerk News) Wide-ranging use of smart technologies is raising global agricultural production but international researchers warn this digital-age phenomenon could reap a crop of another kind – cybersecurity attacks.|
|Complex IT and math modelling at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, Aix-Marseille University, France and Flinders University in South Australia, has highlighted the risks in a new article in the open access journal Sensors ("Cyber-Security Threats and Side-Channel Attacks for Digital Agriculture").|
|“Smart sensors and systems are used to monitor crops, plants, the environment, water, soil moisture, and diseases,” says lead author Professor Abel Alahmadi from King Abdulaziz University.|
|“The transformation to digital agriculture would improve the quality and quantity of food for the ever-increasing human population, which is forecast to reach 10.9 billion by 2100.”|
|This progress in production, genetic modification for drought-resistant crops, and other technologies is prone to cyber-attack – particularly if the ag-tech sector doesn’t take adequate precautions like other corporate or defence sectors, researchers warn.|
|Flinders University researcher Dr Saeed Rehman says the rise of internet connectivity and smart low-power devices has facilitated the shift of many labour-intensive food production jobs into the digital domain – including modern techniques for accurate irrigation, soil and crop monitoring using drone surveillance.|
|“However, we should not overlook security threats and vulnerabilities to digital agriculture, in particular possible side-channel attacks specific to ag-tech applications,” says Dr Rehman, an expert in cybersecurity and networking.|
|“Digital agriculture is not immune to cyber-attack, as seen by interference to a US watering system, a meatpacking firm, wool broker software and an Australian beverage company.”|
|“Extraction of cryptographic or sensitive information from the operation of physical hardware is termed side-channel attack,” adds Flinders co-author Professor David Glynn.|
|“These attacks could be easily carried out with physical access to devices, which the cybersecurity community has not explicitly investigated.”|
|The researchers recommend investment into precautions and awareness about the vulnerabilities of digital agriculture to cyber-attack, with an eye on the potential serious effects on the general population in terms of food supply, labour and flow-on costs.|
|Source: Flinders University|
We curated a list with the (what we think) 10 best robotics and AI podcasts - check them out!
Also check out our Smartworlder section with articles on all kinds of smart tech, crypto, blockchain, NFT, Web3, AI and more.