Cyber security threats – are we prepared? A threat-based assessment of the cyber resilience of the Australian agricultural sector

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Australia’s rural industries and businesses are not immune to cyber attacks. More and more, the sector is a target for malicious cyber activity, a threat that will become increasingly real as farmers, fishers and foresters continue to adopt digitally enabled infrastructure, equipment and machinery.

The 2020 malware attack that shut down Australian and New Zealand wool sales and the 2021 cyber attack on global meat processing giant JBS are just two high-profile incidents that cost the Australian agricultural sector dearly. While cyber attacks pose a clear and present danger for rural businesses, producers are not as prepared as they could be.

AgriFutures Australia invested in this work in consultation with other Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs). Together, we recognised the need for producers to better understand cyber risks and take proactive steps to eliminate them. Understanding how best to mitigate cyber vulnerabilities ensures that producers will continue to have ready access to technologies that deliver important gains for their businesses.

This report has been produced under AgriFutures Australia’s National Rural Issues (NRI) Program, which is part of the National Challenges and Opportunities Arena. NRI focuses on thought-provoking and horizon-scanning research to inform debate and policy on issues of importance across rural industries.

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