Cyber security tips for the farm

#1 Keep an eye out for suspicious emails

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack where criminals try to mislead you into providing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, data, or personal details. Mostly, this is done through email and instant messaging. The phishing message often appears legitimate, using logos, language, and familiar formats. That makes it difficult for you to distinguish it from a genuine message. Lely will never ask for your credentials or a financial transaction per email.

The golden tips against Phishing

1. If an email looks suspicious, it’s probably false:

Be aware that (important) partners and suppliers never ask for sensitive information to be sent by email. Nor do they force you to take immediate action. It prevents disclosure of critical farm data and jeopardizing your daily operations. 

2. Check for suspicious links:

Hover your cursor over hyperlinks in emails to reveal the actual destination URL. Avoid clicking on links that seem suspicious or lead to unfamiliar websites. This simple action can help prevent falling victim to phishing attempts. So, never click on unfamiliar links and do not open attachments if you don’t know the sender.

3. Verify requests for financial transactions: 

Before making any financial transactions or sharing bank details, verify the request by checking the source on an alternative communication channel, like such as trusted supplier contacts or reliable sources.

4. Educate your employees:

If your employees use your digital environment, like the farm management software or email, share these tips with them. This will help them to promptly recognize and report any suspicious activities they encounter. Emphasize the potential consequences of phishing, such as the loss of cow data or malfunctioning robots, both of which can significantly impact cow welfare and farm prosperity.

5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication:

Having one extra device to verify your login or password makes phishing much harder. You can choose to do this for your most critical accounts and farm management systems.


Why might my farm be targeted by phishing attacks?

  • We all make use of digital assets and use internet connection. You may conduct financial transactions online, like purchasing supplies, paying bills, or managing your bank accounts. It makes our lives easier, however, we must be aware of cyber threats and how to respond to them. Phishing attacks could obtain financial information that could lead to unauthorized access to accounts and financial loss.
  • You often handle sensitive information such as customer data and financial records. Phishing attempts aimed could compromise the security and confidentiality of your farm. You do not want your business to be disrupted.
  • Phishing emails may contain malicious attachments. When opened, they install malware, for example ransomware, on your device. Ransomware can encrypt files and demand payment to get back control.
  • Phishing attacks often aim to steal login credentials, including email, banking, and farm management accounts. Compromised credentials can be used for further attacks, such as identity theft or unauthorized access to sensitive systems of your farm.

Are there other forms of phishing I should be aware of?

Yes, there are. Be aware of the following forms of phishing:

  • Spear Phishing targets you or an employee with personalized messages tailored to your interests or role. These messages often appear highly credible, increasing the likelihood of you falling for the scam.
  • With Smishing, phishing via SMS or for e.g. Whatsapp, you will receive fraudulent text messages to trick you into clicking on malicious links, providing personal information, or downloading malware onto your device. These messages often claim to be from trusted sources such as banks or government agencies. However, they would never ask you to give them trusted information outside their own platforms.
  • Clone Phishing is aimed at your suppliers. It involves creating a replica of a legitimate email or website and sending it to f.e. your suppliers after making small modifications, such as changing links or attachments. The goal is to trick them into believing the message is sent by you and taking the desired action.
  • During vishing attacks, you get a call from someone pretending to be a bank representative, government official, or IT support technician. They often use tactics to create a sense of urgency or fear, such as claiming there is a security breach or pending legal action unless immediate action is taken. The goal is to steal confidential information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, login credentials, or to manipulate victims into transferring funds or installing malware on their devices.

What should I do if I receive an email that seems suspicious?

The general rule is, ‘when it feels fraudulent, it mostly is’, report it via the phishing button in your e-mail platform. Be cautious of emails asking for sensitive information or immediate action. Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links and refrain from opening attachments from unknown senders. This helps prevent the disclosure of critical farm data and protects your daily operations. Most of the times, you can check the email behind the sender, by moving your mouse over it slowly. And be sure to carefully check and read links to websites, before clicking on them.

How can I ensure the legitimacy of requests for financial transactions?

Before making any financial transactions or sharing bank details, verify the request by checking the source through alternative communication channels such as Google or your own supplier contact details. Lely will never ask for your credentials or a financial transaction per email.


How can I protect my employees from being vulnerable to phishing?

Not all farmers have employees. However, when you do, please educate your employees about recognizing and reporting suspicious activity promptly. Ensure they understand the consequences of a single click on a phishing email. Like losing important (historical) cow data, of suddenly have non-functioning robots. Sharing the potential vulnerabilities is already one big step ahead.

How can I enhance security beyond passwords?

Consider using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for your most critical accounts and farm management systems. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring verification from another device, making phishing attempts much harder to succeed. You will get used to MFA quite quickly.

How can I make sure I do not lose all my data?

Your farm automation means you have a lot of valuable information. Emails, invoices, contacts, and order forms. The best way to minimize data loss is it to make regular (offline) backups.

What if something actually does go wrong? What do I do?

If a phishing breach disrupts your farms operations, please turn off your hardware immediately and contact your Lely Center for help.

Back to Cybersecurity

Why Lely?

Every farmer in the world has to make decisions daily for their farm. Choices both for themselves and their business. But they do not need to do this on their own. They have the help of advisors to find the right solutions and steer their business in the right direction.

More and more of you are choosing Lely as a long-term partner. That is because every day our products and services allow you to take another step towards your desired results. We are by your side with the right people, who are skilled and highly trained.