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How Secure Is The Food Production Enterprise

Cultivating a cyber security culture in the food industry : punching IoT cyber risks in the ear.

In The food industry, high-tech equipment and devices are used to improve production conditions. Yet emerging technology brings with it new challenges and threats.

According to a survey conducted in 2017 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the world population is predicted to hit 9.8 billion by 2050. The same report also indicates that generally large areas across the globe have seen a recent improvement in life expectancy.

In order to cater for this ever-growing and longer-lived population, the amount of food produced today needs to be approximately doubled by 2050, hopefully without turning any more land into farmland. This places a tremendous pressure on the food processing industry to produce more food more effectively but with less environmental effects. Farmers, manufacturers , distributors and food processors use high-tech equipment and technologies to improve production processes, minimise waste and allow effective use of limited capital to meet demands.

How the IoT affects the Food Production Industry – what is it’s roll?

The food industry is now using the Internet of Things ( IoT) to help make manufacturing more effective.    As a prime example, farms with their fields and other sites are often remotely situated, and crops are grown far from where a farmer works, just like fish pens can be found in the middle of the sea, miles away. Online control systems and cellular telephone access reduce the actual requirement for places to be accessed and tracked.

Food production involves not only the growing and production of food items, but also storage, processing, waste management, and other tasks. The IoT is also used in most of these activities: Connected devices and systems can help manage large tracts of land, track and feed large herds of animals, maintain specific storage environments, and more. As base technologies used in the IoT (e.g., sensors, boards, antennas, and batteries) become cheaper, and cellular data connectivity becomes ubiquitous in rural and agricultural areas, we foresee wider adoption of the IoT in this industry in the near future.

IoT can be used in food processing in a number of ways – precision farming is a form of farm management that takes into account the inter-and intra-field variations of both soil and grain. Sensors gather soil and crop data, and then various automated systems process the information and provide the required amount of water or fertiliser for crops. Farming machines with self-management technologies, such as driverless tractors, use real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning data and variable-rate technology to apply the optimum quantity of fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation to a given location.

In general , there are two types of aquaculture: open systems, commonly seen in open seas, and closed systems, which can be used in ponds or water tanks.

Aquaculture is the production of marine species such as fish , shrimp, shellfish and algae. A 2013 report released by the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of the World Bank projects that aquaculture will produce more than 60 per cent of food for human consumption by 2030. This suggests that the production of seafood would rely largely on ‘human-controlled’ aquaculture in a few years ‘ time.

Technology is required for all styles to track and control water content, turbidity, temperature , salinity, water pressure, pH and dissolved oxygen. Livestock is the breeding and processing of animals for use. The IoT aims to preserve acceptable environmental standards and to monitor animal welfare. Automated control, weighing and feeding systems allow growers to manage animals with minimal human interference.

In food and livestock, a lot of waste may be polluted with nutrient additives or organic matter in agricultural waste, crop residues or irrigation water. It has to be disposed of, stored or recycled into something useful. One of the most common ways to reuse waste is to transform it into biogas, which can then fuel fields, installations or small communities.

“A 2013 study published by the Agriculture and Environmental Services Department of the World Bank projects that aquaculture will supply over 60 percent of fish for human consumption by 2030. (trendmicro.com)”

Harvested goods must be processed (sometimes for months) in farms or warehouses while awaiting shipment and use. IoT serves to track and control temperature and humidity in storage silos in order to avoid spoilage and pollution.

After harvesting or slaughtering, food must be washed, refined and prepared for storage, cooking or consumption. As a result, many food preparation devices, such as chopping devices, fryers, ovens and smokers, are used. Some of these machines are fully automatic and can only be checked by the operator for failures or difficulties in food production.

Food and agricultural organisations must ensure that adequate food production, including storage, refining and planning, is implemented – and protected. There are also various laws that businesses need to deal with. Some device providers provide dedicated applications to meet the criteria for good agricultural practise (GAP) and Hazard Detection Essential Control Points ( HACCP) and to minimise manual reporting. Compromised information, whether stemming from accidental leakage or from cyber assaults, can have an effect on the security of documents, which, in turn, can be an important part of public health and safety issues.

In America in 1870, 70-80 percent of the US population was employed in agriculture. (en.wikipedia.org)

However, the adoption of new technologies often poses hurdles. There has been growing fear that food and agriculture machinery and technology face significant risks to both businesses and customers. The United States in 2015. The Department of Homeland Security has described cyber safety as a primary issue in this area and proposed a plan to reduce industry-specific risks. These problems continue to escalate, and given the potential consequences of food safety issues that could have an impact on the lives of consumers of crops and livestock disturbances that could kill a business, there is no doubt that cyber security must be a higher priority for individuals and organisations engaged in the food industry.