IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Minnesota farm coop caught in ransomware attack

Crystal valley becomes second agribusiness to find data encrypted by criminals

Tractor pulling a trailer across a farm

Minnesota-based farm supply and grain marketing coop Crystal Valley has become another agribusiness caught up in recent ransomware attacks.

In a Tuesday statement released by the Mankato, Minnesota-based cooperative, it said it was attacked. The following day, its website went offline. The organization serves over 2,500 farmers in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

The coop then made a statement on its Facebook page saying the attack “has infected our … computer systems and interrupted the daily operations of our company.”

The attack left the organization unable to accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards until further notice, although “local cards do work.”

“As we continue to navigate through this with the help of experts, we appreciate your patience and understanding. We will continue to update with information as it becomes available,” it added.

The coop’s CEO, Roger Kienholz, told local newspapers it was “working diligently with our internal IT team along with multiple outside technology vendors to restore our data and return to full-service operation in a matter of days, especially now with fall harvest getting underway.”

What ransom cyber criminals have demanded from the small cooperative or what type of ransomware they used in the attack remains unknown. The incident comes just days after an attack on another farming cooperative.

Earlier this week, Iowa-based agricultural coop New Cooperative was hit by an attack by the BlackMatter ransomware gang.

Related Resource

The essential cyber security toolkit for SMBs

Practical tips for cyber security training

a guide to cyber security for SMBs - Datto whitepaperFree download

Andrea Carcano, co-founder of Nozomi Networks, said the food supply chain, and the supply chain in general, doesn’t have strong cyber security measures in place. 

“Making matters worse, our national supply chain is already stretched thin due to COVID and recent natural disasters,” he said. “Those suppliers who invest early in strong cybersecurity programs and resiliency are able to respond faster, and with less financial damage, when an attack occurs."

John Shier, senior security advisor at Sophos, told ITPro what was notable about this  attack is the company's insistence that they are critical infrastructure and should therefore be spared as per BlackMatter's own policy.

“However, the operators behind BlackMatter disagree with this assessment and are continuing to pursue payment from the victim. This attack will be the first to test the new U.S. government policy on reporting attacks against critical infrastructure to CISA and the Biden administration's response to such an attack,” he said.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

Mastering endpoint security implementation
Security

Mastering endpoint security implementation

18 May 2022
The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update
Whitepaper

The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update

12 May 2022
Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history
Server & storage

Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history

4 May 2022
Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils security offerings for major cloud providers
public cloud

Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils security offerings for major cloud providers

3 May 2022

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Microsoft says it's provided over $100 million in tech support to Ukrainian government
cyber attacks

Microsoft says it's provided over $100 million in tech support to Ukrainian government

20 May 2022