Agri-food Indusrty

When you take time to consider the journey from ‘farm to fork’ you can see the number of stakeholders involved in the agri-food sector. Consider those involved in the growth and nurturing stage – feed supplier, agrichemical supplier, logistics, machinery sales, bank, insurers, the relevant government departments and NGO’s. The journey onward to the consumer then involves traders, wholesalers / retailers, food outlets and eventually the end user.

Threats are on the rise!

Many global brands and household names have been subject to cyberattack over the last number of years, including Moy Park, Fane Valley, Co-Operative Society, Irish Dairy Board and ABP.

These are ‘known’ attacks. There are many other smaller organisations and farms throughout the country that have also been subjected to the various forms of cyberattack but have remained anonymous in order to protect their brand reputation.

The 2019 cyberattack on Moy Park disrupted its IT systems and caused delays to processing and distribution. Have you considered how long your business could survive if production was halted for 48 hours? A week? How much would it cost your business financially and in terms of reputation?

What’s important to remember is scale – a ransom email may well breach both a large organisation like Moy Park and a small farm in the same way. The outcome will be just as devastating to both businesses but most likely the larger organisation will survive.

Each and every known touchpoint within this seamless process increases the threat of cyber security to everyone involved – from the farmer through food processing to the retailer. Add in human error and you can see how exposed some organisations can be.

Why is the agri-food sector so vulnerable?

The sector has been historically less reliant on technology than retail or finance and has been slow to fully embrace new technology and digitisation. Many organisations and businesses are using outdated technologies that may not have the latest security updates or patches. These vulnerabilities can be targeted specifically by cyber criminals to help them gain access to networks and data. Many of the companies involved in our food supply chain are inter-dependent. Organisations rely on a complex supply chain for the production, distribution, wholesaling or retailing processes. Ultimately, the more supply partners you have in your supply chain, the greater the potential risk. 

The sector is comprised of many small to medium sized businesses and farm holdings that do not have the resource to dedicate to the problem or to invest in the appropriate security technology and software.

Many farmers and smaller agri-food business owners lack awareness of the risks and threat from cyberattack and simply do not yet see cyber security as the most important threat to their business survival.

Cyber criminals are usually targeting the agri-food sector with the sole purpose of shutting down production. An attack on your production will not only cost you money, it may well also compromise the safety and quality of food products which in turn is very clear threat to people’s lives.

For every mention of a global brand as a victim, the unintended consequence is to lead people to believe that “cybercrime will never happen to them” because of their size, their turnover or location.

The truth is that it a cyberattack WILL happen to your business, if it hasn’t happened already.

What are the biggest threats to your business?

Ransomware attacks:

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a business’s files, demanding payment in exchange for a decryption key.
The ransom can vary in size but will usually be a significant cost that we would urge you not to pay as there is no guarantee that you will be decrypted or that you won’t be targeted again.

Phishing and social engineering attacks:

These attacks use fake emails, messages, or calls to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware by ‘pretending’ to be a ‘legitimate’ source, an email from a trusted sender, as an example.

Malware attacks

These attacks involve infecting a company’s computers or network with malicious software that can steal data or disrupt operations.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks:

A DDoS attack involves a threat actor overwhelming your business’s servers and network with traffic which makes it unavailable to users.


Password attacks include brute-force attacks, dictionary attacks, and other methods of cracking passwords to gain access to sensitive information. If passwords are too predictable or remain unchanged for long periods of time, they can be easily guessed or cracked, leaving easy access for hackers.

Working from home

Cloud-enabled systems have helped many of our customers adapt to flexible working over the last 3 years. As people continue to work from home in greater numbers than ever before it is important to remember that all data is now stored in the cloud and is vulnerable to attack. Each employee working from home with a laptop and Smart phone increases further the threat area.

Third-party and supply chain

Many organisations give system and network access to 3rd party suppliers or vendors who may not operate at the highest security level. Their vulnerability can make you exposed to the same cyberattack.

Human error

Strategic or otherwise, human error threats come from within an organisation, from employees who suffer from lapses in concentration, are not trained properly or those who have access to sensitive information and abuse that access.

LoughTec currently provides Cyber support to a number of businesses within the engineering and materials processing sector throughout Northern Ireland. We support enterprise scale organisations with £500B turnover and small companies with a more regional focus, all through the implementation of our LoughTec Security Operations Centre (SOC)

Secure your business with confidence

Talk to us about your Cyber Security today

Security Operations Centre

How the LoughTec SOC can protect your business?

The LoughTec SOC is responsible for detecting, analysing and responding to security incidents in real time delivered through software, technology and (human) security analysts. In addition to 24/7 monitoring and management, the SOC helps organisations maintain
security policies and procedures, deliver training and provides regular reports on our customers security posture.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1.

No obligation, no cost initial consultation to review your current security protocols, enhanced potential requirements and your main concerns.

Step 2.

Deploy the LoughTec System Security Scan for a deep dive on your current cyber posture as well as your threat risk score and analysis.

Step 3.

Review all findings and create our joint cyber security action plan to mitigate the potential risks.

Step 4.

Implement the required tailored cyber improvement plan and resolution actions for your business.

Step 5.

Ongoing LoughTec account management updates with additional training and support tools and plans available.

Our advice to every business is that you need better visibility of your security posture and an understanding of the implications to your business of a data breach, malware or ransomware or any current threat.

Remember cyber threat is a real and constant – there is a good chance that you have already been hacked. If not yet, you definitely will be. It’s important to know that your network is being monitored 24/7/365 – just like you would for your property or plant.

Cyber protection is an investment, not an expense – the LoughTec SOC can protect your most valuable business assets from as little as from as little as £4/day.

For more information and to book a free no-obligation consultation email
or call 0800 158 2337

Customer Success Stories

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Information Security FAQs

Your questions - answered

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