Businesses in farming and agriculture have been warned that they should be prepared to face an increase in ransomware attacks at critical – like spring planting or harvest.
The alert by the FBI suggests that ransomware gangs see farming and agriculture as a lucrative target where victims could be more willing to pay a ransom for a decryption key because of the time-sensitive nature of the industry.
Ransomware attacks targeting agriculture could disrupt planting and harvesting operations, potentially impacting the food supplies, not only for people, but also for farm animals, something which could disrupt the wider food supply chain, as well as causing financial damage to farmers.
Since 2021, multiple agricultural cooperatives have fallen victim to ransomware attacks, particularly during the spring planting and autumn harvesting seasons. The alert details how there were six recorded ransomware attacks against grain cooperatives during the fall 2021 harvest and two attacks early this year.
The attacks in the fall took place in the space of a few weeks between September and October and involved several different ransomware variants, including Conti, BlackMatter, Suncrypt, Sodinokibi (REvil), and BlackByte. Some of the victims had to halt production. The alert doesn’t mention if any of the victims paid