The FBI sent out a notice warning companies in the food and agriculture sector to watch out for ransomware attacks aiming to disrupt supply chains. The FBI note said ransomware groups are seeking to “disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and negatively impact the food supply chain.”
“Ransomware may impact businesses across the sector, from small farms to large producers, processors and manufacturers, and markets and restaurants. Cybercriminal threat actors exploit network vulnerabilities to exfiltrate data and encrypt systems in a sector that is increasingly reliant on smart technologies, industrial control systems, and internet-based automation systems,” the FBI said. “Food and agriculture businesses victimized by ransomware suffer significant financial loss resulting from ransom payments, loss of productivity, and remediation costs. Companies may also experience the loss of proprietary information and personally identifiable information and may suffer reputational damage resulting from a ransomware attack.”
The notice goes on to explain that the food and agriculture sector has faced an increasing number of attacks in recent months as ransomware groups target critical industries with large attack surfaces. Many of the biggest food companies now use an array of IoT devices and smart technology in their processes. The FBI noted that larger agricultural businesses are targeted because they can afford to pay higher ransoms and smaller entities are attacked because of their inability to afford high-quality cybersecurity.