The UK's first-ever cyber security advice for farmers has been released in a bid to help the sector stay safe and secure online.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and NFU has issued the guidance in response to the growing use of technology in British farming.
The new 'Cyber Security for Farmers' advice aims to help farmers protect themselves from the most common cyber attacks, including scam emails and malicious software.
Farms are increasingly taking advantage of the benefits modern farming technology can provide, such as GPS, remote sensors, and farm management software.
However, official statistics show a significant rise in reports of cyber attacks against the UK farming community.
Well-documented incidents include spoof farm machinery adverts, leaving farmers thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for society, said: “Technology plays a huge role in modern farming and offers many benefits that will help the industry to thrive.
“We are teaming up with the NFU to share best online practice, as an increased use of technology also sees an increased risk of being targeted by cyber criminals.
“Staying safe online might seem daunting, but the actionable advice will help the sector to stay as safe as possible while embracing the latest technology.”
The guidance includes ways to protects farmers against malware, keeping devices up to date, where to go for help and how to deal with scam emails and texts.
Stuart Roberts, NFU deputy president, said rural crime was a huge issue for farm businesses, and this included threats from the digital world.
“It’s incredibly important that farmers take this seriously, which is why we’ve teamed up with the experts in the National Cyber Security Centre to help produce this guidance.
"I would urge all farmers to read this advice and take the necessary steps to reinforce their cyber security and protect their farm business,” he said.