Why hackers target food giants by Chiara Rossi

I'll tell you about Bucha's horror and the victory of OrbanStart Magazine Why hackers target food giants 06:08 Already last year, the ransomware attack on meat processing giant JBS raised the issue of food security as a threat to national security caused by hackers. The in-depth analysis of Quartz

Hackers attacking food producers. In the United States, the supermarket chains Costco and Publix have been missing for a few days Lactaid, a brand of lactose-free milk. The reason: a cyber attack brings Quartz back. HP Hood Dairy, owner of Lactaid, did not disclose the details, but cyber experts say it was likely a ransomware attack. As Quartz points out, Hood Dairy is just the latest victim in a series of high-profile attacks on food producers in the United States. In October 2021, a cyber attack hit factories and distribution centers owned by Schreiber Foods, one of Wisconsin's largest cheese producers, which closed for five days. In the summer of 2021, a cyber attack on JBS, the world's largest meat producer, forced the closure of all of its US beef plants, which process nearly a fifth of the country's meat supply. These cyber attacks contribute to the shortage of tight supply chains and high prices. In addition, cyber attacks on large food producers produce significant profits for attackers, according to Ken Westin, director of security strategy at Cybereason, a cybersecurity company. JBS had in fact paid a ransom of 11 million dollars in bitcoin. All the details. IT ATTACK ON HOOD DAIRY On March 15, Hood Dairy said it was the target of a "cybersecurity event". The latter forced her to temporarily close her 13 dairy plants across the country the following week. With the closure Hood had to get rid of some dairy products. Additionally, the company warned that there may be delivery delays for some customers. The facilities are now operational, but some customers may expect a temporary delay in finding Lactaid products in stores. AFTER THE ONE AT JBS LAST YEAR But as we said, it is not the first time that cybercriminals have targeted a food producer. Last year, the hacker attack on JBS led to the temporary closure of several plants in the United States. And JBS has a global supply chain that relies on links between Australia (one of the largest sources of imported beef in the United States after Canada) and North America. As Cnbc noted, meat processors have legacy operating technology systems that may have been installed decades ago and are not replaced every few years like IT systems. BECAUSE THEY ARE EASY PREY Attacks on food companies are largely ransomware attacks. Hence companies are prevented from accessing critical information. This could result in companies not being able to direct trucks where to go or process invoices, said Bob Rudis, chief data scientist at Rapid 7, a cybersecurity company. According to Rudis, fresh food producers, who are not tech-savvy, are particularly vulnerable: if they close, no revenue arrives and the product could deteriorate rapidly. Therefore the payment of the ransom is “unfortunately what happens in many cases”. So for a hacker, a food production and processing company like JBS, a centralized node in an established industry, is a good target. The hack can cause widespread problems from grazing cattle to feeders and grocery stores. As stated by JBS USA, the company has the capacity to process more than 200,000 cattle, 500,000 pigs, 45 million chickens and 80,000 small animals (lambs, sheep, goats and calves) per week. SPEED OF CASES And the phenomenon is experiencing a surge. According to SonicWall, an internet cybersecurity company, in 2021, ransomware attacks increased 105% from the previous year to 623.3 million globally, more than triple the number in 2019. The attacks are more prevalent in the United States , followed by the United Kingdom. BEWARE OF RUSSIAN HACKERS Finally, if the cyber attacks are successful, in the case of large food producers they bring significant profits. As Ken Westin, director of security strategy at Cybereason, a cybersecurity company, pointed out. We recall in fact that the American branch of the giant JBS paid 11 million dollars to a Russian hacker gang. And now, according to Quartz, there is concern that the attacks could be traced to Russian hackers aiming to cause disruptions to supply chains that could have a disastrous impact on the US economy. "This could be perceived by the Russian side as a punishment for the sanctions imposed on their country," Westin said. "It's something we should be very worried about now."