The Crucial Ingredient in Food and Beverage: Cybersecurity

In May, more than 7,000 professionals from the food and beverage industry are expected to gather in Bilbao, Spain for F4F Expo Foodtech. While there, representatives from companies such as Coca-Cola and General Mills will discuss a variety of topics impacting the future of the industry from production to manufacturing and delivery. As Rogelio Pozo, CEO of AZTI and director of Food 4 Future World Summit, explains, “Technologies such as automation, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the Digital Twin or cybersecurity, among others, are transforming the entire value chain of the food industry.” Digitization is welcoming in a new era for the industry offering benefits including efficiency and sustainability. At the same time, it is bringing in a greater emphasis on cybersecurity.

Cyber Risk Facing the Food and Beverage Industry

To further understand the growing significance of cybersecurity in the food and beverage industry, look no further than Dole-made salad kits. Shoppers may have noticed a shortage in the popular grocery item in February. The reason for this disappearance – a ransomware attack. According to CNN Business, Dole confirmed that it was hit by a cyber incident causing it to shut down North American systems. Although the timeframe of this case was not clarified, it is clear that it had an impact. 

Dole isn’t alone in facing this issue. You’ll remember that large-scale food production company JBS underwent a major ransomware attack in 2021. This all aligns with a report recently published on the state of ICS/OT cybersecurity in 2022 concluding that ransomware attacks are skyrocketing. In covering the report, Security Week noted that there were around 600 incidents against industrial organizations. The food and beverage industry ranked second for the number of attacks experienced.

Investing in Food and Beverage Cybersecurity

In an industry that is already plagued by supply chain issues, labor shortages, etc., you don’t want a detrimental cyber breach to be on that list. As Food Engineering reports, IBM estimates that a ransomware attack can cost an organization up to $4.54 million.

On top of that, Sean Lyngaas writes for CNN Business that “Ransomware is not the only digital scam that has hit the food sector.” In December, the FBI and other federal agencies issued another warning regarding a case in which cybercriminals were able to place “fraudulent” orders for milk products, allowing them to steal a hefty sum in shipments.

Considering all the risk that cyber threats pose to business operations, it is essential that cybersecurity is treated as a main strategic element throughout food and beverage manufacturing in 2023 and beyond. With our suite of cybersecurity solutions, DYNICS offers the tools that you need to protect the plant floors and production settings serving as the backbone of your distribution services. From advanced perimeter security via the ICS360.Defender to network security and visibility with OT Network Controller, we cover the variety of areas needing protection from cyber vulnerabilities. Reach out to our team to learn more about how we can help you integrate the right security ingredients for your food and beverage industrial setting.




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