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Russian Ransomware Gang Hits Major Iowa Agriculture Cooperative

Russian Ransomware Gang Hits Major Iowa Agriculture Cooperative

Perhaps if the cyberattack impacted the nation’s ice cream supply, Biden would care?

In July, Biden downplayed the impact of the continuing cyberattacks from Russian ransomware gangs that have hit key firms (i.e., Colonial Pipeline, JBS beef processing plant, software companies Kaseya). He says that he feels good about our nation’s ability to respond.

Now, cybercriminals hoping to harvest close to $6 million targeted a major agricultural cooperative.

An Iowa grain co-op said it was hit with a cyberattack that security researchers are linking to newly launched ransomware group BlackMatter, which the researchers said demanded $5.9 million to unlock the organization’s data.

Fort Dodge, Iowa-based New Cooperative Inc. said Monday that it took its computer networks down after some of its devices and systems recently were hacked. The organization notified law enforcement and is working with data-security experts to investigate what happened, it said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively taken our systems offline to contain the threat, and we can confirm it has been successfully contained,” the co-op said in a statement.

New Cooperative is working to transport grain to livestock and poultry farms that rely on it for feed supplies, a person familiar with the matter said. The organization also disabled its soil-mapping platform as a precautionary measure to protect customers from hackers, the person said.

Security experts theorize that BlackMatter may be a reconstituted version of the ransomware syndicate DarkSide, which was the entity that disrupted the Colonial Pipeline last spring.

BlackMatter claims on its darkweb site not to target critical infrastructure, though many would argue that New Cooperative is exactly that because it provides feed to livestock.

In a post on its darkweb site, BlackMatter threatened to publish 1 terabyte of data it claimed to have stolen from New Cooperative if its ransom demand was not paid by Saturday.

It’s important to note that the nation’s food supply chain was threatened if the media is accurately reporting the exchanges between the gang and New Cooperative officials.

“Please know that NEW Cooperative is treating this matter with the utmost seriousness, and we are using every available tool and resource to quickly restore our systems,” the company spokesperson told The Hill. “We appreciate the patience of our valued customers as we investigate this matter and work to restore functionality and will share additional information directly with our customers as we learn it.”

In what are thought to be screenshots of a negotiation between a spokesperson for New Cooperative and the hackers tweeted out by security researchers, New Cooperative noted that 40 percent of the nation’s grain production runs through its software, and that the ransomware attack would “break the supply chain very shortly” if the hackers did not relent.

Given this is another serious attack on the American food supply chain, many in our media are remarkably quiet on the matter.

Perhaps if the cyber attack impacted the nation’s ice cream supply, Biden would care?


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If you’re pantry doesn’t look “Mormon_plus”, you’re not paying attention.

Mormon_plus = 6 months of everything plus coffee, coke and liquor.

    JLSpeidel in reply to Andy. | September 24, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I buy beef when I see it on sale. I have a big enough freezer to keep it. Husband always asks why I am buying more meat. He is starting to see the prices go up faster than he anticipated. He is the grocery shopper. I just pick up odds and ends…like extra meat.

your… not you’re… damn the no edit function here!

Fourty years ago some Carolina undergrads left me a note. “We borrow you’re grill, hope your don’t mind.” College kids being stupid is not a recent trend. I am assuming that the sharpie didn’t come with an autocorrect function that they could blame.

Allow me to be sarcastic.
Since the President * feels good about the efforts to prevent these attacks, we can say with confidence that it is highly unlikely the cyber attack originated from any outside threat. Maybe it is a new tax introduced by * in a secret EO?