Food & Cybersecurity

What We Do

Given the vulnerabilities identified in the food industry and the increasing threats to Industrial Control Systems (ICSs), it is critical that food companies have the tools, techniques, and knowledge to protect themselves. Strengthening Food Industry Cybersecurity Capacity, a project conducted by FPDI with support from the Department of Homeland Security, achieved the first steps in protecting the food industry from cyberattacks.

Investigation by the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) has revealed that food industry ICSs may be particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Many ICSs used in the food industry are quite old, highly customized, and never designed to be secure or be made secure through patching or updating. Yet, more of these legacy systems are being connected to workstations on corporate networks and offering an entryway for hackers to other vital systems.

How We Work

FPDI collaborates with public and private sector partners to understand the vulnerabilities in the food system infrastructure and the dynamic threats emerging in cyber security. Our research has engaged the food industry to articulate the challenges to protect against the growing threat of cyberattacks. Outputs have led to frameworks and best practices to implement cyber security.

Our Capabilities

FPDI was the first organization to highlight the Food and Agriculture Sector’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities, particularly to attacks on the industrial control systems that almost all food companies rely on to operate food production facilities. For this effort, the Institute was able to convene leading experts in cybersecurity and food production to assess the risk and begin initiatives to address them. This work has significantly increased awareness in the food industry of the need for ICS cybersecurity, and FPDI has piloted a promising assessment for assisting food companies, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, in strengthening their cybersecurity.

FPDI continues to assess the vulnerabilities and threats to the food system. Capabilities include general threat analysis as well as customized assessments.

Expertise

We have in-house experts and cybersecurity professionals collaborating with us to understand threats and vulnerabilities and to develop best practices to protect this critical infrastructure.