The FBI Cyber Division issued a Private Industry Notification (PIN) to warn of ransomware attacks targeting the Food and Agriculture sector disrupting its operations, causing financial loss and negatively impacting the overall food supply chain.
Small farms, large producers, processors and manufacturers, and markets and restaurants are particularly exposed to ransomware attacks.
“Cyber criminal threat actors exploit network vulnerabilities to exfiltrate data and encrypt systems in a sector that is increasingly reliant on smart technologies, industrial control systems, and internet-based automation systems. Food and agriculture businesses victimized by ransomware suffer significant financial loss resulting from ransom payments, loss of productivity, and remediation costs.” reads the FBI’s PIN. “Companies may also experience the loss of proprietary information and personally identifiable information (PII) and may suffer reputational damage resulting from a ransomware attack.”
The PIN provides a series of examples of ransomware attacks impacting food and agriculture sector businesses, such as an attack that took place in January 2021 against an identified US farm that resulted in losses of approximately $9 million due to the disruption of the farming operations. The attackers targeted the internal servers by gaining administrator-level access through compromised credentials.
In another incident that occurred in March 2021, a ransomware attack blocked the operations at a US beverage company, while in a November 2020 attack on a US-based international food and agriculture business threat actors requested the payment of a gigantic $40 million ransom. The good news is in the latter attack the victims restored its backups.
The FBI provided the following mitigations to protect against ransomware attacks:
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, FBI)