When it comes to cyber security research from the University of Guelph suggests agriculture is behind the curve.

In the last few years, we've heard about online hackers and the damage they can do.

Cathy Lennon, the General Manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture says it's important to be aware of any potential risks.

"The biggest way that folks get inside your business system, whether it's your phone or your computer or your network applications in your barn or equipment, is through some sort of trickery. Finding access to your usernames and passwords that allow them to get inside. So that is often done by the way of a phone call or an e-mail or a text message, or sending a link to you that you click on and then that gives them access because you have visited their website and they've gotten inside that way."

She's encouraging farms and other agriculturally based businesses to tighten their security measures.

"There is an example reported in Ontario in 2023 where a hacker broke into a small Ontario hog farm, took control of and locked them out of their business systems on the farm. As well as threatening them that they would require a false confession about the treatment of their livestock in order to get access back to their information."

She notes to avoid problems it's also important to use secure and unique passwords, make sure you always back up your system, and make the necessary updates to your computer and security programs as they come up.

"Don't press later when it says we've identified that there is a better-updated version of this software. Oftentimes 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."

Lennon says it's important to be really diligent in backing up your system because in some ways it's not a matter of if you experience a cyber attack it's a matter of when. If you have the information backed up you can get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.