Crystal Valley, a farm supply and grain marketing organization from Minnesota, has been hit by a ransomware attack, as confirmed from their Facebook post last September 19. The website went down temporarily as a result of the attack. As of now, it is working
The firm said from their statement that their computer systems have been attacked, disrupting its daily operations. All systems of the Mankato-based cooperative were shut down because of the breach, so they can work to ensure a safe and secure restoration. In addition, they will be able to accept Mastercard, Visa, and Discover cards on the cardtrols until the issue is resolved. The phone system of the company is also down, according to a spokesperson.
Crystal Valley Cooperative is an agricultural firm that specializes in serving crop farmers and livestock producers in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. The firm CEO stated that they are already working internally to restore their data and return to the full-service operations, primarily upon the beginning of the fall harvest season.
Since then, this ransomware attack against Crystal Valley has been the second one to target an agriculture business.
NEW Cooperative, an Iowa-based farm service provider, was the first one to get attacked last week. Taking credit for the said attack, the BlackMatter ransomware group demands a ransom of about $5.9 million.
The company also added that this cyberattack has been a bad time to happen to them since the harvests are only beginning to boost for the affected farmers.
Many researchers believe that the agriculture landscape is struggling because of how each type of technology advancements beginning way decades since then is a part of a larger supply chain, including its impact on technical projects, budgets, business risk mitigations, and budgets. The older but larger cooperatives have been trying to succeed in terms of technical debt within their organization while keeping with acquisitions that have lesser secure operations. All these while also managing a low-margin business.
Moreover, researchers believe that the food and agricultural sector must be on high alert now, especially with the recent and close attacks against two cooperatives. It could be possible that some agricultural firms have already been attacked unknowingly or may have only failed to report, coming from the attacks operated by the BlackMatter ransomware.
Aside from financial loss because of the cyberattacks, these affected agricultural cooperatives may also suffer from loss of proprietary information, personally identifiable data. They may also experience reputational damages, according to the FBI. The security service advises the food and agriculture sectors to be attentive to possible ransomware attacks.