If the hackers haven’t targeted you yet, they probably will soon. The ag and food industries aren’t immune, and it’s best to be ready.
That’s the message from cybersecurity experts for those in the food and agriculture industry, who are now on high alert because of recent ransomware attacks targeting the Colonial Pipeline and JBS, the nation’s largest meatpacker.
JBS ended up paying $11 million in Bitcoin to end the attack, The Wall Street Journal reported, a decision it made even though “the vast majority of the company’s facilities were operational,” the company said June 9. It was a “difficult decision,” JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira said. But JBS said it chose that route “to mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated.”
Ransomware is akin to blackmail: Pay and the hackers will give you a key to get your data back. The FBI defines it as “a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems, or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return.”
But money’s not the only object of hackers’ desires; Paris Stringfellow — a vice president at the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) and a researcher at Clemson University in South Carolina — and other experts note they may also be in search of customer data or want to gain control of processing or farming equipment to “quietly modify your product quality, to hurt your…