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FBI warns of possible cyberattacks against ag cooperatives

FBI warns of possible cyberattacks against ag cooperatives

Hackers may be more likely to attack during planting and harvest season

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reminding those working in the ag space to take necessary data safety precautions.

With planting season underway, cybercriminals may be more inclined to attack.

Hackers “may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons, disrupting operations, causing financial loss and negatively impacting the food supply chain,” the FBI said in an April 20 Private Industry Notification. “Although ransomware attacks against the entire farm-to-table spectrum of the (food and agriculture) sector occur on a regular basis, the number of attacks against agricultural cooperatives during key seasons is notable.”

The FBI specifically mentioned ransomware attacks.

Ransomware works by locking users out of their computer networks. Hackers then ask for a payment before giving back access.

The U.S. ag sector has experienced at least one cyberattack this year.

A multi-state grain company experienced a Lockbit 2.0 ransomware attack in March. And in February, a feed mill company detected and stopped a cyberattack before any data or access was compromised.

Hackers also targeted the U.S. ag sector in 2021.

Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 6, six grain companies were victims of cyberattacks where hackers demanded millions of dollars in ransom payments before restoring access.

The average payout for hackers is between $150,000 and $170,000, Group-IB, a cybersecurity company, said in one of its reports.

In light of the attacks in 2021, spoke with an IT professional about how ransomware works and how business owners can protect sensitive data from cyberattacks.

The U.S. government is taking action to help prevent cyberattacks.

The Department of Energy announced it is providing $12 million in funding to six university teams to develop tools to protect U.S. energy delivery systems from cyberattacks.

Visit to learn more about professional managed IT services that can help protect your agribusiness from cyberattacks and other digital security threats.

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