A ransomware attack on a prominent U.S. agriculture group, New Cooperative Inc., has caused a disruption in one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy. This attack has experts concerned on what the potential risk to the supply chain of grain, pork, and chicken in the U.S. the attack may pose. Along with the disruption, the cyberattack also imposes a massive financial cost for the company in question to get their business operational again.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a specific type of malware, often introduced into a system through a harmful email attachment or other surreptitious means of installing a file onto a computer. Once installed, a ransomware program locks up the computer so that only a message from the hackers demanding payment can be accessed. The files on that computer are also often downloaded by the hackers, posing a further security risk to anyone affected.

In order to prevent tracking, the payment that hackers using ransomware demand often is in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, adding some anonymity to the payment. If the attack happens on a computer connected to a network, there is also a risk of malware spreading to other computers on the network. These attacks highlight the need for every business to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture.

What Happened in This Attack?

The attack on New Cooperative Inc. was likely carried out by a hacking group known as BlackMatter, who claim to have refined their techniques by incorporating the best elements of past ransomware technologies. The attack encrypted data on New Cooperative’s servers and stole over 1,000 gigabytes worth of information, including research and development reports, financial invoices, and source code for industry-critical software on soil mapping.

Taking precautions to contain the threat, New Cooperative Inc. brought their servers offline, causing further disruption in their ability to do business. The attackers demand a considerable sum of $5.9 million to unlock New Cooperative’s systems. Representatives for the agricultural group have indicated that the issue has been raised to the country’s law enforcement and regulators, causing the issue to be out of their hands at this point.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?

Just as hacking groups have a myriad of ways to gain access to your systems, there are a number of countermeasures that can be taken to prevent these attacks. Teaching good practices online to anyone accessing a company’s computers, such as avoiding suspicious emails, is an important first line of defense. The best method of defense is integrating your system with a protective software that detects malware before it becomes a problem. Typically the cost of cybersecurity software is far less than the cost to your business should you become a victim of a ransomware attack.

Don’t let your business fall victim to hackers. Stay one step ahead of security threats to your system using our AI-based software, Starpoint. This patented, multidimensional malware detection technology boasts unparalleled speed and accuracy, all the while taking up a very minimal footprint on any given system. For more information on how Starpoint can protect your business, contact Quantum Star Technologies today.