Any PCs, laptops, a Windows phone or any other device with Windows software, is open to attack.
As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running the Windows 7 operating system, leaving farmers ‘extremely vulnerable’ to hacking attempts and viruses.
Rural Tech cybercrime expert Keith Franklin said the update to Windows software meant any security updates – which would previously have been automatic – would no longer happen.
Any PCs, laptops, a Windows phone or any other device with Windows software, is therefore open to attack.
Mr Franklin said: “A lot of current hardware may or may not run Windows 10, the replacement for Windows 7.
“So we are talking about looking at a new PC or laptop before the January 14 cut-off date, but you cannot just get a Windows 10 machine, plug it in and off you go.”
Farmers ought to be aware of the time it takes to upgrade software, as leaving it too late could mean system failure, he said.
Any data would need to be transferred from one system to the next.
The team at Rural Tech has just spent 18-months helping to upgrade the anaerobic digestion plant at Wykey Farm, Shropshire, to Windows 10, installing business-grade, anti-virus software and local and Cloud data backup.
Mr Franklin said farmers should not underestimate the importance of including IT in their annual budget.
He said: “They are a little bit taken aback by one, the actual cost of the equipment, and two, the amount of time it takes to transfer all of their data over to upgrade and get them back operationally so they are where they were before.
“Having any computer or software systems looked at over a weekly or monthly basis would be a good idea going forward, too.”