An Iowa grain cooperative was forced to take their computer systems offline over the weekend after falling victim to a ransomware attack. The Wall Street Journal reports that New Cooperative of Fort Dodge was targeted in a cyberattack by a recently formed group identified as BlackMatter. The group announced on its website that it had stolen nearly one terabyte worth of files from New Cooperative’s systems and encrypted the data, including invoices, research and development documents, and the source code to its soil-mapping technology. New Cooperative rejected a ransom request for $5.9 million in cryptocurrency, warning that the hackers had targeted critical infrastructure and could face a more forceful government response.
Cybersecurity experts told the Journal that the BlackMatter attack shows similarities to the attack launched by DarkSide against Colonial Pipeline in May. The strike on New Cooperative also follows an attack on the computer systems of Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS in June, which caused them to temporarily halt operations at its plants across the U.S. JBS agreed to pay the $11 million ransom sought by their hackers.