IA Ag Cooperative Hit In Ransomware Attack

September 23, 2021


An Iowa agricultural business, New Cooperative, suffered a ransomware attack and the criminal gang is demanding a $5.9 million ransom. And while the victim and the attacker quibble over if the organization is considered critical infrastructure or not, a vital system is shut down.
New Cooperative confirmed it had been hit with a cyberattack either late Friday or early Saturday and shut down its systems in response. Researchers are saying the cyber gang called BlackMatter, which has Russian ties, perpetrated the assault.
New Cooperative contained the breach and developed a workaround to continue accepting grain shipments and distributing feed.
The cooperative took its computer network offline to isolate the incursion and stopped its soil-mapping software — a master-control system that optimizes irrigation and fertilization — as a precaution.

Incident Date

September 17, 2021

Estimated Cost

Attackers demanded $5.9 million, but New Cooperative refused to pay. Brief delays in grain receipts and feed shipments as the organization shifted to manual operations, using paper tickets to record truck weights, moisture measurements and other factors. No material impact on commodities markets was observed.

Type of Malware

Threat Source