Hackers Broke into the Systems of an Agricultural Cooperative in the United States and Demanded $5.9 Million
OREANDA-NEWS. A hacker group attacked the American farmer's cooperative New Cooperative in Iowa and threatened to publish the company's commercial data if they were not paid $5.9 million in cryptocurrency. This is reported by The Washington Post (WP) and The Hill. Both publications write that the BlackMatter group, allegedly associated with Russian-speaking hackers, is suspected of involvement in the hacking.
Hackers using ransomware blocked the networks of the agricultural cooperative, which were used to control the supply of products and the feeding schedule of chickens, pigs and cattle. New Cooperative shut down its network, including the irrigation and fertilizer management system, as a precautionary measure.
The hacker group threatened to publish 1 TB of cooperative data — invoices, research and development and the source code of soil mapping technology. Cybercriminals want to get a ransom in cryptocurrency before September 25.
A representative of the agricultural enterprise confirmed to The Hill that the cyber threat has been localized and the company is working with law enforcement agencies and data security experts.
The BlackMatter group is involved in the attack, Allan Lisk, a cybersecurity analyst at Recorded Future, told the publication. WP also writes that the systems of the farmer's cooperative were hacked by hackers of this group.
Representatives of the company tried to negotiate with hackers to unblock the company's networks without payment, and asked not to attack the cooperative, since it is a "critical infrastructure", WP points out. On the BlackMatter website in the darknet, hackers stated that they did not attack vital infrastructure-hospitals, pipelines and power plants.
A company representative also told the Washington Post that hackers later threatened to break into the computer software of the cooperative, which controls 40% of grain production in the country, as well as the feeding schedule of 11 million animals on US farms. The incident could seriously affect food supply systems, according to Wells Fargo analyst Tim Lagisland, if hackers try to block the entire food supply chain.