The rise of perils is confirmed in the cyber field. The FBI has just issued an alert to warn companies in the agri-food sector to be wary of ransomware attacks aimed at disrupting supply chains. According to the US intelligence agency, ransomware attack groups seek to “disrupt operations, cause financial loss and negatively impact the food supply chain.” “
“Ransomware can impact businesses across the industry, from small farms to large producers, processors and manufacturers, as well as markets and restaurants,” warns the FBI. “Cybercrime threat actors are exploiting network vulnerabilities to exfiltrate data and encrypt systems in an industry that increasingly relies on the Internet of Things. ”
The fears of the American authorities? That “agribusiness victims of ransomware suffer significant financial losses as a result of ransom payments, lost productivity and remediation costs.” “Businesses can also suffer the loss of proprietary information and personally identifiable information, as well as damage to their reputation as a result of a ransomware attack. “
Food industry in the sights
And to recall that the food industry has been facing for months a growing number of malicious campaigns targeting critical industries with large attack surfaces.
The reason ? Many of the largest companies in the industry have entered the Industry 4.0 era and use a variety of connected devices during their production process. According to the FBI, these companies are more targeted than their smaller competitors because they can afford to pay higher ransoms.
The appetite of pirates is indeed growing. “From 2019 to 2020, the average ransom demand doubled and the average cyber insurance payment increased by 65%,” said the US intelligence agency, which notes that the highest ransom demand observed in 2020 was of $ 23 million.
However, paying is not always the right solution, as the FBI reminds us. “Studies have shown that 50 to 80% of victims who have paid the ransom have suffered a new ransomware attack by the same actor or by different actors,” recalls the federal agency.
And recall previous ones, including a Sodinokibi / REvil ransomware attack on an American bakery company, the attack on global meat processor JBS in May, an attack in March 2021 on an American beverage company and an attack in January against an American farm which caused losses of approximately $ 9 million.
White House Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger spoke to the press on Thursday to urge companies to look for signs of compromise ahead of the long weekend and develop action plans in the event of a ‘attack. “We want to raise awareness and this awareness need is particularly relevant to owners and operators of critical infrastructure that provide essential services to Americans,” said the latter.