On Sept. 1, the FBI released an alert warning that ransomware attacks targeting the food and agriculture sector are disrupting operations, causing financial losses and harmfully impacting the food supply chain. Businesses that may be affected included small farms, large producers, processors and manufacturers, markets and restaurants. In a ransomware attack, victims’ files are encrypted and made unavailable, and the attacker demands a payment for the decryption tool and key.
Victims of the attacks suffer significant financial loss that result from ransom payments, loss of productivity and remediation costs. They also may experience the loss of proprietary information and suffer reputational damage. In January, for example, a ransomware attack against an U.S. farm resulted in losses of approximately $9 million due to the temporary shutdown of their farming operations, according to the FBI. The unidentified attacker was able to target the farm’s internal servers by gaining administrator level access through compromised credentials. The FBI issued a detailed report on how to protect operations from attack. Read more.