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Attacks on cooperatives during planting and harvest more likely

A recent notice from the FBI warns agricultural cooperatives that ransomware attacks could be more likely during the planting and harvest seasons. While attacks against the farm-to-table sector occur regularly, the Private Industry Notification says the number of incidents against cooperatives during key seasons is significant.

“Cyber actors may perceive cooperatives as lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time-sensitive role they play in agricultural production,” FBI states.

Since 2021, several ag cooperatives have been affected by myriad ransomware variants. During the fall of 2021, six grain cooperatives were attacked. Some had to completely stop production while others lost administrative functions, disrupting the food supply chain. In early 2022, a company that provides feed milling and other ag services reported two instances – which were detected and stopped – that could have impacted planting.

Because these actors will continue to exploit network, system, and application vulnerabilities, the notification lists several recommendations to mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks like regularly backing up data and installing updates, software, and firmware as soon as they are available.

To read the complete notification, titled “Ransomware Attacks on Agricultural Cooperatives Potentially Timed to Critical Seasons,” and learn more about how you can protect your farm or organization against cyber attacks, click here.

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