Farmers need to be vigilant for scammers when conducting business online, a cyber security specialist has said.
Peter Marrs said local farmers are particularly at risk when buying machinery and equipment over the internet, and his advice is to never send money to someone without seeing the item in person.
“Don’t pay for anything upfront if it seems suspicious, you are unsure, or if it’s not someone that you have dealt with before. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” he said during a recent online course.
To keep personal information safe online, Marrs recommends using long passwords which include both upper – and lower-case letters, as well as numbers and symbols.
Anti-virus programmes should be installed on computers and software on all electronic devices should be updated when new versions become available from the manufacturer, he recommended.
Participants on the course were told that organisations such as banks, HMRC and DAERA will never ask for personal information, like bank details, passwords, or pin codes, via email or text message.
Our aim is not to put you off from using online services. They’re here to stay and they make life much easier
Other advice includes not using public Wi-Fi networks, as they can be susceptible to online hackers, and limiting the amount of personal information that is shared online through emails and social media.
“Our aim is not to put you off from using online services. They’re here to stay and they make life much easier. It is just to make you aware of good practices for carrying out business online,” Marrs said.
Online events on cyber security for NI farmers are continuing to be run throughout January.
Full details about the Working Safe Online course are available on the CAFRE website.