FBI security alert on agricultural cyberattacks

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FBI security alert on agricultural cyberattacks

Agricultural cooperatives should be on high alert at this time, taking all possible precautions to protect their operations from cyber attackers. This notice comes from the cyber division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), published on April 20.

The FBI does not provide details on why it sent the notification, but the agency shared that historically, “ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting seasons and harvest, disrupting operations, causing financial loss and negatively impacting the food supply chain.”

There have been multiple attacks on agricultural cooperatives during the 2021 harvest season. So far this year, two cooperatives have been hit by these criminals. The FBI notice was also sent to co-ops in Australia and the UK.

Together, the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and National Security Agency (NSA) have found ransomware incidents against 14 of 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the United States, including food and agriculture , defense industry, emergency services, government facilities and information technology sectors.

Two of the most recent attacks on the food and agriculture sector, one in February 2022 and the other in March 2022, directly targeted grain processors and feed mills. In the February incident, hackers gained access to a company that provides flour milling and other agricultural services, and a ransomware attack was attempted. This attempt was stopped before encryption could take place. In March, a multi-state grain company fell victim to a Lockbit 2.0 ransomware attack by hackers. This company provides seeds, fertilizers and logistics services.

The FBI did not share the name of either company, nor did it provide additional interviews or information on these matters.

Source: DTN

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