FBI warns cyber attacks could impact world food supply — Analysis

The bureau said a rise in ransomware attacks targeting farming co-ops could disrupt “the entire food chain”

The top US law enforcement agency has warned of increased cyber attacks on agricultural cooperatives, saying hackers could target large-scale farms and potentially impact the world’s food supply. 

The FBI’s Cyber Division issued a notice to private industry earlier this week, pointing to a growing number of ransomware attacks on farming co-ops throughout the fall 2021 harvest and the early months of 2022.

“Ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons, disrupting operations, causing financial loss, and negatively impacting the food supply chain,”The statement added that breaches of this nature could have an impact on the planting season “by disrupting the supply of seeds and fertilizer.”

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In addition to several other recent cases, the bureau cited a period of one month last year when six grain cooperatives were targeted with ransomware. “multi-state grain company”The March hack was similar to the one that occurred in February. It noted the widespread effects such attacks could have on the global food supply given the importance of grain for both people and livestock. 

“A significant disruption of grain production could impact the entire food chain, since grain is not only consumed by humans but also used for animal feed,”You said it. “In addition, a significant disruption of grain and corn production could impact commodities trading and stocks.”

Ransomware is a form of malicious software used to encrypt and block access to a victim’s data until a ‘ransom’ is paid to the attackers, who often threaten to publish or destroy files if no payment is made.

This warning by the FBI comes amid fears of food shortages across some areas due to Ukraine’s ongoing conflict. Ukraine is a significant agricultural exporter. Russia, which sent troops into the neighboring state earlier this year, is also a significant exporter of wheat and other staple crops, with the two nations commonly described as regional ‘breadbaskets’. An increase in financial restrictions and bank closures will likely make the situation worse.

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Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols that were negotiated by the French helped to grant the regions of breakaway special status in the Ukrainian government.

Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.

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