FBI warns food and agriculture sector about ransomware attack increase impact

The FBI has issued a notification warning firms in the food and agricultural sector about the climbing number of ransomware attacks and how they impact the food supply chain.

According to Security Week, the organisation sent out a private industry notification detailing how the increased reliance on smart technologies, Internet-connected IoT devices and industrial control systems exposes the sector to various kinds of cyberattacks that could lead to disrupted operations.

The FBI said that all kinds of companies in the sector are at risk, including processors, manufacturers, markets, farms and restaurants.

The notification mentioned, “Food and agriculture businesses victimized by ransomware suffer significant financial loss resulting from ransom payments, loss of productivity, and remediation costs. Companies may also experience the loss of proprietary information and personally identifiable information and may suffer reputational damage resulting from a ransomware attack.”

To help fend off the possibility of a damaging attack, the FBI recommends all companies keep their data backed up regularly and that they employ network segmentation and two-factor authentication. In addition, organisations should keep systems and applications updated, implement recovery plans, use strong passwords, perform network audits, install and regularly update anti-malware software and disable remote access if not used.

The FBI highlighted, as an example of threats to the industry, that earlier this year a US farm was hit by a ransomware attack that caused up to $9m in operational damage. All farming operations at the unnamed farm were temporarily suspended.

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