CISA says BlackMatter ransomware group behind recent attacks on agriculture companies

CISA, the FBI and NSA officially implicated the BlackMatter ransomware group in the recent attacks on two agriculture companies, confirming the assessments of some security researchers who said the gang was behind incidents involving New Cooperative and Crystal Valley in September.

New Cooperative — an Iowa-based farm service provider — was hit with a ransomware attack on September 20 and BlackMatter demanded a $5.9 million ransom. Crystal Valley, based in Minnesota, was attacked two days later. Both attacks came as harvests began to ramp up for farmers.

In the advisory, CISA, the FBI and NSA said BlackMatter has targeted multiple US critical infrastructure entities since July. The advisory provides a detailed examination of BlackMatter’s tactics and outlines how the group typically attacks organizations. 

“Using embedded, previously compromised credentials, BlackMatter leverages the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocol to access the Active Directory (AD) to discover all hosts on the network,” CISA said in the advisory. 

“BlackMatter then remotely encrypts the hosts and shared drives as they are found. Ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure entities could directly affect consumer access to critical infrastructure services; therefore, CISA, the FBI, and NSA urge all organizations, including critical infrastructure organizations, to implement the

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