Iowa-based agriculture group New Cooperative, which produces about 40% of the United States' grain supply, is the latest victim of ransomware group BlackMatter. The incident "could lead to a food shortage in the coming weeks and months," according to ChannelFutures.com.
The demand? $5.9 million, which will jump to $11.8 million soon if not paid. Because this is harvest season, farms across the world are using advanced machinery which interfaces with their network and automates dozens of processes. Unfortunately, this reliance can cause severe breakdowns if their network is attacked.
BlackMatter has in the past said that they would not attack critical infrastructure, however, in leaked texts between the hacking group and negotiators, the group told them that "You do not fall under the rules," and that "the critical ones mean the vital needs of a person."
1,000GB of data including the source code to New Coop's proprietary software SOILMAP, has appeared up for auction on the Dark Web. Included in the package listed is "Finance info such as production costs, bills, invoices, statements, payrolls," "Network information for each company in group, Keepass export," and "Full pack of product creation procedures and R&D results."
According to the Des Moines Register, the company also "sells seeds, fertilizer, and herbicides."