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An Iowan agricultural group hit by ransomware, the impact of the ransomware on the US public could be worse than the Colonial Pipeline incident.
Bloomberg reported the ransomware targeting New Cooperative, a major US grain producer demanding a ransom of $5.9m. Hacking group BlackMatter with links to the DarkMatter outfit responsible for the oil shortage in May, resulting in oil prices soaring on the East Coast.
Security researchers posted a screenshot of the negotiations between the two parties on Twitter. According to the researchers, “The impact of this attack will likely be much worse than the pipeline attack for context, and we have no way to control that given the disruption this has already caused. I am just telling you this so you are not surprised as it does not seem like you understand who we are and what role our company plays in the food supply chain.”The Biden administration has already warned Russia to stay clear of 16 critical infrastructure sectors of the US economy off-limits to cybercrime groups claimed to be running operations from Russia. The current attack is testing those red lines.
Another screenshot tweeted on Twitter says, “There is going to be very very public disruption to the grain, pork, and chicken supply chain. About 40% of grain production runs on our software and 11 million animal feed schedules rely on us.” It further mentioned, “This will break the supply chain very shortly, and we will have to report this to our regulators and likely the public if this disruption continues … CISA is going to be demanding answers from us within the next 12 hours or so and we are going to have to tell them exactly what has happened.”According to Hank Schless, senior manager of security solutions at Lookout, the firms would need better protect themselves in place of any geopolitical breakthrough.
He further added, “BlackMatter claimed that New Cooperative doesn’t reach the threshold that the President laid out. Threat actors already operate outside the bounds of the law, so why would they suddenly comply? If this is the attitude Russia-based threat actors have towards the President’s warnings, then this could be indicative of similar attacks to come.”
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