How to Protect Your Food Processing Plant from Cyber Attacks

Food processing plants are critical players in the food industry, utilizing raw materials from agriculture to produce food for consumption around the world. The meat industry alone has seen significant growth in recent years, accounting for 25 percent of all food shipments in the United States. However, the industry's increasing reliance on technology has also made it vulnerable to cyberattacks

How to Protect Your Food Processing Plant from Cyber Attacks

A few years ago, a major meat processor, JBS Foods, fell victim to a cyberattack, causing shortages and financial losses. The company had to spend $11 million to repair the damages, highlighting the significant impact of cybercrime on food processing facilities. Such attacks not only cause financial harm but also disrupt food production, leading to food waste and safety issues that can result in lost customers and profits. 

In this article, we will discuss how to protect your food processing plant from cyberattacks and minimize the risk of such incidents occurring.

Using Technology for Protection

The processing of foods from farm to consumer is now digitized. Technology is now used to systematize the processes of agriculture and livestock. Digital monitoring is essential as a company needs to compete and innovate quickly.

Having the system transformed into a digital world poses risks to the food industry. This opened the door for hackers to prey on the industry. Food processing plants depend on networks to keep track of the status of their products. From storage temperatures to delivery schedules, it runs the monitoring of the system. There is a possibility that some data has outdated software. That is the reason for the compromised manufacturing. If it happens, the entire food supply in the facility will no longer be safe for consumers.

Create a Cybersecurity Guide

To help food processing plants safeguard their business from unwanted cyber crimes, we have compiled a cybersecurity guide with helpful ways to consider enhancing your cyber protection. As the world is improving, defense technology is available to invest in to protect our systems. With the rapid digital transformation in the food industry, the integration of IT and OT (operational technology) has become necessary. 

However, with the use of technology comes the risk of cyber attacks, and it is crucial to secure data centers and systems to prevent such threats. Food processing plants must be diligent in heightening their cyber protection to minimize the risk of getting hacked. Improving security measures and investing in employee awareness are crucial to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

  • Invest in strong IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology)

IT is the network structure, data storage, and method. It was used to process, store, create, and secure all types of electronic data. It is your company's system that keeps all the information. IT then sends data to business applications. OT systems can process and track events and physical devices. It is capable of making adjustments in industrial operations. IT handles the storage and data processes. OT works by generating the data processed by IT. 

Managing assets through OT will help with security and safety. It is useful if an unauthorized change or breach in your system occurs. It provides accurate information and security protocols founded on a solid cybersecurity program. It can also offer history, backup, and recovery templates if an incident happens.

  • Limit and control employees' access to confidential information

Employees should have limited access to the database. Their access should be limited to parts of the system where they have authority. Create multiple-step accounts to lessen illegal access to the database.

  • Assess the needs of your company.

Check out what your food industry needs about cybersecurity. It should be noted that food manufacturing is more automated and system generated. You need every detail of your company's production structure verified. 

That is with the help of an automated and up-to-date system. Hackers see themselves as easy prey for outdated software and systems. Knowledge of your system's vulnerabilities should undergo a proper assessment.

  • Install an endpoint security solution

EDR, or endpoint detection and response tools, helps keep track of and detect signs of threats. It also featured disabling accounts engaged in unusual activities outside your network. This is an automated defense protocol for EDR. It also helps avoid the installation of unapproved software. It comes with automatic alerts, such as website blockers and spam filters. Do regular scanning with updated antivirus software.

  • Prevent human error.

Train your employees to avoid human error. Please include in the training the ability to take provisions. Remind them all the time about the crucial security training perceptions. It is important to conduct appropriate responses to any security incidents. Conduct compulsory training quarterly for cybersecurity best practices. Everyone should take part and be aware of suspected websites. 

  • Create backup data and perform system testing.

When a cyberattack happens, immediate access to your data is vital to resolving the issue. Looking over the entire system structure with the database is crucial. Get your data backup ready. Prepare a copy of your production, whether hard or soft. 

Nonetheless, keep in mind that data is only occasionally backed up. Backups are sometimes only opened immediately after a cyberattack. Get your data backed up every day. And always run the most updated version of the software.

  • Divert the risk of cyberattacks to insurance.

We have to lessen cybercrimes and the adverse effects they bring. It only requires protocols for internal management. This insurance could help transfer that type of risk to a third party. Fortunately, we got help from multi-factor verification or endpoint detection. 

But it is not easy to get invested in cyber insurance because it is too expensive. Insurance is one of the most critical aspects of managing your company's cyber risk.

  • Plan various incident reaction plans.

This response plan must include explaining the incident and the people involved. The program reports the names of participants and their roles when breaching happens. A cybersecurity policy for notifying the involved parties should be part of the cybersecurity guidelines. Include a policy that balances the costs and distributes the resources after a breach.


We can't control what hackers think or when they make attacks. But we can decide to close the doors so they do not infiltrate our system and business. That is, by protecting the vulnerabilities of our facilities from any cybercrime. 

Some food processing plants are prone to these cyberattacks. But with a solid plan and preparation, we can protect our businesses and employees.