FBI warns US agriculture sector of increased ransomware risk

The FBI has alerted food and agriculture businesses to be prepared for potential ransomware attacks during planting and harvest seasons.

According to Cyberscoop, the reason ransomware groups would target agricultural firms at this time is because it is more likely to draw the attention of ransomware actors ‘bent on leveraging the sector at its most vulnerable’.

In the FBI’s notice, the Bureau notified the industry by saying that ransomware hackers were bent on ‘disrupting operators, causing financial loss and negatively impacting the food supply chain’. The FBI also stated that there had already been ransomware attacks against six grain cooperatives during the fall of 2021 as well as two attacks in the early part of this year.

The notice also warned that ransomware hackers ‘may perceive cooperatives as lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time-sensitive role they play in agricultural production’.

In June last year, food processing giant JBS Foods closed down production at multiple sites globally following a cyberattack. This later led the firm to have to pay a $11m extortion fee for their troubles.

Meanwhile, dairy giant Schreiber Foods were forced offline last October after they also suffered a ransomware attack.

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