One Of The Top Us Agriculture Firms Has Been Hit By Ransomware

Andre Nery –

FBI warns of ‘timed’ ransomware attacks on agriculture sector

In a recent warning, the FBI warned that food and agriculture businesses could become a target of ransomware attacks at the sector’southward busiest times of the year.

Ransomware gangs may exist timing their attacks on U.S. agriculture organizations to inflict maximum damage.

The FBI’s cyber division published a flash alert Midweek for the food and agronomics sector stating that “ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during disquisitional planting and harvest seasons” like the fall and early on jump.

The FBI warning is one of many issued by the U.Southward. government over the by year regarding the cybersecurity of the agriculture industry and the ascension gamble of ransomware attacks. This latest warning cites several instances in which dissimilar agriculture sector organizations across the country take been targeted past ransomware in both the planting and harvesting seasons.

The warning describes why agriculture groups similar co-ops are at such a great hazard.

“Cyber actors may perceive cooperatives equally lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time sensitive function they play in agricultural output,” the alert said. “Although ransomware attacks against the entire farm-to-table spectrum of the FA sector occur on a regular basis, the number of cyber-attacks against agricultural cooperatives during key seasons is notable.”

The FBI also noted the importance of the agricultural industry and the impact that potential ransomware attacks could have on the country.

“A significant disruption of grain product could impact the entire nutrient chain, since grain is non only consumed by humans merely too used for animate being feed,” the alarm said. “In addition, a significant disruption of grain and corn production could impact commodities trading and stocks. An attack that disrupts processing at a protein or dairy facility can quickly result in spoiled products and have cascading effects downwardly to the farm level as animals cannot be processed.”

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The FBI’s warning cited two ransomware attacks on U.Southward. agriculture so far in 2022. The two incidents were a March attack on a grain company by Lockbit 2.0 and a February attack on “a company providing feed milling and other agricultural services,” which reportedly thwarted the ransomware before information technology could fully deploy and encrypt systems.

Other noted incidents were from September and October 2021 when several grain co-ops were hit past ransomware groups, including BlackByte, BlackMatter, Conti, Sodinokibi and Suncrypt. While the FBI warning did not release the names of the victims, there were two big co-ops in Minnesota and Iowa that reported ransomware attacks last fall.

On Sept. 19, the Crystal Valley co-op in Minnesota suffered a ransomware attack that initially interrupted services and led to preventative system shutdowns. While their computer systems were shut down, the group was still able to record transactions using physical tickets, co-ordinate to the Minnesota Post.

A mean solar day afterward, on Sept. 20, New Cooperative in Iowa had to take its systems offline post-obit a BlackMatter ransomware attack, only said that they connected to receive grain and distribute feed without disruption. Following the attack, BlackMatter demanded a $5.9 meg bribe for a decryption key and the render of sensitive data.

There has been no evidence that New Cooperative always paid the ransom or engaged in negotiations with BlackMatter. New Cooperative could not exist reached for comment.

The recent flash alert from the FBI is not an unfamiliar sight, every bit like warnings were released in 2021 by federal agencies.

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On October. 18, CISA released a written report on the BlackMatter ransomware group and their attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, including agriculture, and on Sept. 1, the FBI released a warning stating that threat actors would go on to target the agriculture sector with ransomware after growing threats in 2020.

The FBI alert on ransomware threats to the agriculture industry coincided with some other warning from the U.S. government. A joint security advisory from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Security Agency and Department of Justice announced critical infrastructure organizations could “increased malicious cyber activity” from Russian threat groups. Wednesday’s advisory followed statements from the White Firm in March that the Russian authorities was “exploring” potential cyber attacks confronting U.S. critical infrastructure.

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One Of The Top Us Agriculture Firms Has Been Hit By Ransomware