AI Services (Northern Ireland) Ltd. will be hosting a series of 'working safe online' webinars, kicking-off on Tuesday, November 9.

They have been designed to improve farm families’ skill base when it comes to staying protected while using the internet,.

This initiative constitutes a pilot project that has been developed under the auspices of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), and is part of the ongoing ‘Farm Families Key Skills Programme’ in Northern Ireland.

AI Services rural development contract manager, Eamonn Matthews said:

“It’s easy to forget just how much information that farmers and their family members access and actually put online.

We all use our phones, many of us bank online while most of us send confidential information on a regular basis by way of email.

“There is also a strong web element associated with modern farm security systems, plus the use of camera and video systems that are used to check on livestock at calving and lambing times," he added.

“And of course all robotic farming and GPS related-systems cannot function without access to the internet.”

Data protection online

Matthews explained that driving all of this, is the accumulation of data. He said that this is information that should be the sole preserve of the farming business concerned, but which could be extremely valuable to others, if they can access it.

The need for farm families to stay safe, in terms of how they interact with the internet, is of paramount importance. And it was for this specific reason that the upcoming series of webinars has been developed," he said.

A total of 25 webinars has been planned for the coming four months: the first taking place next Tuesday, November 9.

Eamonn Matthews continued: “Numbers per webinar have been restricted to 20 people. This should allow a maximum of 500 farm family members to participate in the events that will take place between now and the end of February next. There is no enrolment fee.

All families with an active farm business number will be eligible to participate in the pilot project. There is no linkage between the scheme and other CAFRE farm development programmes.

“Each event, which lasts for two hours, will be hosted by an accredited trainer in the field of ICT and online security.

The webinars have been structured to provide the maximum level of engagement between the host and those taking part; they are deliberately arranged for evening times when farm families have finished their daily chores.”

Each webinar provides information and guidance on the following subject areas:

  1. The benefits and risks of working online and using online services;
  2. How to keep devices safe and secure;
  3. Protecting your operating systems and application software;
  4. How to keep your information safe and secure while communicating, carrying out transactions and accessing information online.

Eamonn Matthews concluded: “The upcoming series of webinars is extremely timely and relevant; a case in point being the recent series of fraudulent basic payment system-related emails that were sent out to farmers throughout Northern Ireland.”

Pre-registration by clicking here, in order to participate in any of the upcoming webinars, is essential according to CAFRE.