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IDFA Partners with Food and Ag-ISAC to Bolster Dairy Industry Cyber Defenses

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2023—The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the Food and Agriculture – Information Sharing Analysis Center (Food and Ag-ISAC) today announced a new strategic partnership to bolster the dairy industry’s defenses against cyber criminals who are increasingly targeting food and beverage manufacturers.

Cyber crimes against food companies have risen significantly in recent years as criminals develop more advanced methods of infiltrating information systems and manufacturing software. At least three high-profile cyber attacks have inflicted significant costs and disruptions on dairy businesses in recent years while at the same time risking personnel safety and food safety. According to the World Economic Forum, the cost of cyber attacks averages more than $1 million, including $1.4 million for malware attacks, $1.4 million for web-based cyber attacks, $1.2 million for malicious insiders attacks, and $1.1 million for Denial-of-Service attacks. Taking into account production delays, reputational damages, loss of customers, and stock hits, longer-term damage can increase these costs for dairy businesses.

To deal with these threats, IDFA has put a focus on cybersecurity programming. The organization formed the Dairy Technology and Innovation Network (DTIN) in 2021 to convene technology and information leads from dairy businesses to share best practices, elevate the industry’s technological development, and spur innovation. IDFA partnered with Ever.Ag to host DairyTech conferences with cybersecurity focuses in 2022 and 2023. And IDFA continues to host webinars and virtual programming to heighten the industry’s awareness of threats and share best practices for improving cyber security across dairy organizations. The new IDFA and Food and Ag-ISAC partnership will expand on this work to provide IDFA members with regular briefings and resources to understand new threats and harden their defenses.

Food and Ag-ISAC launched in May 2023 after serving as a Special Interest Group within the IT-ISAC for the previous 10 years. This new ISAC serves companies in the food and agriculture sector—one of the federal government’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors—by providing vendor-neutral threat analysis, facilitating peer-to-peer intelligence sharing, and driving informed risk management.

“IDFA is pleased to partner with the industry leader in cyber threat analysis and sharing to bring more resources to our members as they seek the most up-to-date information on cyber threats,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association. “It is clear that cyber criminals have a spotlight on dairy companies. We need to look to always stay two steps ahead of these actors, and we can do that if we work together, share information, and share best practices for thwarting efforts to disrupt our businesses. IDFA urges dairy companies of all sizes to act with vigilance and take advantage of the resources provided by IDFA’s new partnership with Food and Ag-ISAC.”

“Given the interconnected nature of the food and agriculture industry, maintaining a safe, secure, and resilient farm-to-table supply chain depends on individual decisions of countless companies,” states Scott Algeier, Executive Director of the Food and Ag-ISAC. “We are excited about this partnership with IDFA, as they will help us share critical threat intelligence and effective mitigation strategies with the dairy industry to help it manage the array of threats it faces.”

Through the IDFA and Food and Ag-ISAC partnership, IDFA members and the DTIN community will receive regular briefings on cyber threats and best practices, and new resources will be made available to IDFA members to harden their cyber defenses. IDFA and Food and Ag-ISAC today released Food and Ag Cybersecurity: A Guide for Small & Medium Enterprises to provide small- and medium-sized dairy businesses with best security practices for reducing cyber risks. IDFA members can access this guide here on the IDFA Knowledge Center.

IDFA and Food and Ag-ISAC will host an introductory webinar about the partnership and resources for IDFA members at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on September 27. Find more information and register here.

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