World Grain - May 2022 - 28

FEATURE: CYBER CRIMINALS TARGETING AGRIBUSINESS
folders. The company did not pay the $40 million
ransom and was able to successfully restore its
systems from backups.
* Minnesota agricultural firm Crystal Valley
Cooperative was targeted in a ransomware attack
in September 2021 and was forced to take systems
offline due to cybersecurity incidents. The
attack left Crystal Valley unable to mix fertilizer
or fulfill orders for livestock feed.
* Russian hackers leveled a ransomware attack on
an Iowa farming co-op in September 2021, demanding
$5.9 million to unlock the computer networks
used to keep food supply chains and feeding
schedules on track for millions of chickens,
hogs and cattle. New Cooperative in Fort Dodge,
Iowa, US, was forced to take its computer network
offline to isolate the incursion and shuttered
its soil-mapping software as a precaution.
Why is agriculture a target?
The interdependency of information technology and
bio-data output of agribusinesses provides ample opportunity
for biosecurity threats. Cyber criminals can
earn a significant profit exploiting this industry because
of its foundational importance in the economy, the value
of new bio-automation techniques and the desperation
companies could face when business-critical data
are held hostage.
Globalization has created an extended supply chain
that is far more difficult to secure, and that often results
10
cyber risks facing agribusiness
* Business interruption resulting in critical delays and
lost opportunity
* Theft, loss, or unauthorized disclosure of corporate
personal information
* Unauthorized access or theft of valuable assets
like the advances in plant and animal varieties and
genetics
* Manipulation of critical automated, technologybased
processes (e.g., thermal processing time and
temperature for food safety)
* Unauthorized control of robotics or autonomous
vehicles (e.g., failure to perform, overriding of
precise function)
* Misinformation influencing the reputation and trust
of agriculture and food processing among consumers
* Theft of customer and third-party information
* Access to personal information on other
organizations' servers
* Corporate espionage by competitors
* Manipulation of vehicles, machinery, HVAC systems
and more.
28
in partnering with and relying on companies that may
lack proper cyber security.
Agriculture has had a traditional focus on performance
and safety - not security - and that can lead to
major cybersecurity gaps in the entire production and
distribution chain.
The growing complexity of precision agriculture
makes it difficult to manage and secure critical data
and functions.
Information firms specializing in agriculture are a
potentially vulnerable point of attack.
Methods of attack
Cyber criminals attack agriculture in a variety of ways.
They include:
Business email: Using email to impersonate someone
the farmer may know and trust and convince them to make
an urgent payment or to change their account details.
Text and phone scams: Phishing calls and scam
texts attempt to trick targets to reveal personal information
or click on a link that downloads malware.
Phishing emails: Cyber criminals can now convincingly
mimic branding and content of well-known organizations,
which means many people blindly trust them.
Costly technology risks
There are two kinds of precision agriculture businesses:
ones that have been hacked and ones that will be.
Being highly connected and successfully handling
information flow represent the two key factors that create
a successful digitally managed farm operation. But
these best practices also become the highest vulnerability
to cyberattack to disrupt food production.
Cybersecurity in agribusiness isn't something that
should be assumed is simply an IT function or a task
outsourced to a vendor. It's a way of doing business
that needs to start at the top and permeate the entire
organization for cybersecurity to work.
Larger operations may be able to weather cyberattacks
such as phishing, but small farms or businesses are often
unable to absorb that kind of financial loss. The US
House of Representatives Small Business subcommittee
on health and technology has reported that 60% of small
businesses in the United States fail after a cyberattack.
Different types of exposure
Errors by well-intentioned (but often under-trained)
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World Grain - May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - May 2022

World Grain - May 2022 - Intro
World Grain - May 2022 - 1
World Grain - May 2022 - 2
World Grain - May 2022 - 3
World Grain - May 2022 - 4
World Grain - May 2022 - 5
World Grain - May 2022 - 6
World Grain - May 2022 - 7
World Grain - May 2022 - 8
World Grain - May 2022 - 9
World Grain - May 2022 - 10
World Grain - May 2022 - 11
World Grain - May 2022 - 12
World Grain - May 2022 - 13
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World Grain - May 2022 - 18
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