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Going to the Farmers Market? Don’t Let Cybercriminals Harvest Your Information

Monday, August 8, 2022

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By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

There is nothing better than on a nice spring, summer, or fall day than to go to a weekend farmer’s market here in Indiana with my family. In fact, with more than 8,000 farmers markets across this country (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture), it is no wonder that this is a popular thing to do nationally.

But as I was enjoying my local market this past week, which was extra busy since it was National Farmers Market Week, it made me realize how important it is to be sure we are educating our local farmers and small businesses as well as the customer in how to best secure our information.

Credit Card Sales

While farmers are out collecting their produce, it’s important to know that everyone’s information is protected before, during, and after the sale.

It has become quite commonplace to see or use credit card readers at farmers markets. There are many different types, but most of them are connected to the seller’s phone or tablet. This opens up the thought in some people’s minds that their information could be compromised. Generally speaking, these card readers are secure for completing your transactions, but it’s always a good idea to provide customers with a receipt, or if you’re buying an item, to select the option to have a receipt sent to you in a text or an email.

Protecting Your Business

Recently, the FBI issued an alert to the food and agriculture sector stating that ransomware actors were on the hunt to disrupt their seasons. Additionally, 43 percent of cyberattacks involve small- to medium-sized businesses. Since cybercriminals see these industries as lucrative, easy targets, it is important that farmers and small businesses take a few steps – ahead of time – to make sure everyone has a safe shopping experience.

The federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers a plethora of information on ransomware attacks and ways to protect yourself or your business. To get started, there’s four cybersecurity tips you can follow to help your farmer’s market business and ensure your customer’s information stays safe includes:

  • Implementing multifactor authentication (MFA) on your accounts
  • Updating software and turning on automatic updates
  • Thinking before you click
  • Using a password manager

Multifactor authentication

This is a security enhancement that allows users to present two forms of credentials when logging into their various accounts. These credentials can include anything from a password, smart card, or even their fingerprint or face. It fully aims to add an additional layer of security, so that it is harder for cybercriminals to access your personal information.

Software updates

Updating your software is wildly important for a variety of reasons. They help patch security flaws and protect your data. Having hackers take advantage of weaknesses found in your software is the last thing you want to worry about. Make sure that you are being proactive when it comes to updating your software.

Think before you click

Hackers often times use phishing and other methods to target users. These methods are designed to trick unsuspecting individuals into giving confidential information to them. Often times, they will take credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.

Password managers

Managing your passwords can be hard sometimes, but using a password manager is a good way to keep your passwords unique, strong, and safe.

To learn more about the latest cybersecurity tips, best practices, resources and more, visit our Indiana Cyber Hub website and follow us on social media on Twitter and Facebook.