(WFRV) – A new warning for local farmers. The FBI says you need to be on alert for ransomware attacks.
The FBI’s cyber division published a flash alert Wednesday for the food and agriculture sector stating that “ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons”.
The warning describes why agriculture groups, including co-ops, are at such a great risk.
“Cyber actors may perceive cooperatives as lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time-sensitive role they play in agricultural production,” 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 production could impact the entire food chain, since grain is not only consumed by humans but also used for animal feed,” the warning 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 down to the farm level as animals cannot be processed.”
The FBI highlighted a ransomware attack last month on a multi-state grain company that provides seed and fertilizer and also cited agriculture cooperatives that supply multiple farms as most vulnerable to extortion.
As for an attack on a dairy, poultry, cattle farm, or meat-producing facility, the FBI warned, “An attack that disrupts processing at a protein or dairy facility can quickly result in spoiled products and have cascading effects.”
You can read the FBI’s full report at https://www.ic3.gov/Media/News/2022/220420-2.pdf.