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Understanding Common Cyber Crimes and the Motives of Cyber Criminals


In today’s digital age, the threat of cyber crimes looms large over various industries, including agribusinesses. As the world becomes more interconnected, the risk of cyber attacks targeting the agriculture sector has increased significantly. To this end, this blog post, we will explore the most common cyber crimes that agribusinesses face and delve into the motives behind these malicious acts. By understanding these threats, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your agribusiness from cyber attacks and protect your valuable data and operations.

1. Cyber Security and Phishing Attacks

One of the most prevalent cyber crimes is phishing attacks. Cyber criminals use deceptive emails, messages, or websites to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information such as login credentials or financial details1. These attacks often target agribusiness employees, posing as legitimate organizations or colleagues to gain access to confidential data. The motive behind phishing attacks is usually financial gain or the theft of valuable intellectual property2.

2. Ransomware and Agribusiness Cyber Security

Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common in recent years. Furthermore, in these attacks, cyber criminals infiltrate an agribusiness’s computer systems and encrypt valuable data, demanding a ransom in exchange for its release2. The motive behind ransomware attacks is primarily financial gain. Agribusinesses are attractive targets because they rely heavily on data for operations, and the disruption caused by a ransomware attack can be devastating.

3. Data Breaches

Data breaches involve unauthorized access to sensitive information, such as customer data, financial records, or trade secrets. Cyber criminals may sell this stolen data on the dark web or use it for identity theft or other malicious purposes2. However, the motive behind data breaches can vary, including financial gain, competitive advantage, or even political motivations.

4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm a targeted website or online service by flooding it with an excessive amount of traffic, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users2. Cyber criminals may launch DDoS attacks against agribusinesses for various reasons, including extortion, revenge, or even ideological motives. Additionally, These attacks can disrupt operations, cause financial losses, and damage a company’s reputation.

5. Social Engineering and Agribusiness Cyber Security

Social engineering involves manipulating individuals to gain unauthorized access to systems or sensitive information. Cyber criminals may use tactics such as impersonation, pretexting, or baiting to deceive employees into divulging confidential information or performing actions that compromise security1. The motive behind social engineering attacks is often to exploit human vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access to valuable data or systems.


As agribusinesses increasingly rely on digital technologies and interconnected systems, the risk of cyber crimes continues to grow. Understanding the common cyber crimes and the motives behind them is crucial for protecting your agribusiness from potential threats. By implementing robust cybersecurity measures, training employees on best practices, and staying vigilant against emerging threats, you can safeguard your valuable data, operations, and reputation.

Post Author: Chris Sherman

Chris grew up in Minnesota’s lakes country and started his first job at 11yrs old doing chores at the neighbor’s dairy farm. Summers were spent cleaning stalls, hauling silage, milking cows, raking hay, and endless hours picking rocks.

After graduating high school, he spent 10 years in industrial manufacturing. In 2005 he began studying Lean Manufacturing through the Shingo Prize Institute and passed his Bronze Level exams. Later he went on to redesign several production processes, and led facilities through numerous technological upgrades. During this time, Chris pursued his formal education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rasmussen University of Fargo. Ultimately, he received his MBA from Benedictine University in 2016.

In 2014 Chris returned to agriculture and took a position with a North Dakota based ag construction company. He spent the next 8 years managing the company’s service department, overseeing large-scale irrigation projects, and construction of grain handling facilities across North Dakota and Minnesota.

Currently, Chris lives in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota with his wife and children. He sat on the board of directors for the Becker County Economic Development Authority and the county’s Housing Authority for six years. He served as the board president until the end of his term in 2020.