FORT DODGE, IOWA, US — An Iowa grain cooperative was the target of a cyberattack over the weekend, Bloomberg reported.
New Cooperative, a farm service business with facilities located mostly in northwest and north central Iowa, was targeted by a Russian-backed Ransomware group called BlackMatter, which is demanding a $5.9 million ransom, Bloomberg reported, citing a cybersecurity expert.
The cooperative said that upon learning of the cybersecurity incident, it proactively took its systems offline to contain the threat.
“We can confirm the threat has been successfully contained,” New Cooperative said.
As of Tuesday morning, New Cooperative’s website was mostly available online, with information on cash bids for corn and soybeans. Harvest is about to get underway in Iowa, which ranks first in corn and second in soybean production in the United States.
Bloomberg reported that BlackMatter is believed to be linked to the ransomware group called DarkSide, which attacked the Colonial Pipeline in the United States earlier this year, causing fuel shortages for several weeks in the eastern part of the United States.
New Cooperative has the 13th largest grain storage capacity in North America, according to Sosland Publishing’s 2021 Grain & Milling Annual. It has 118 million bushels of capacity at 62 facilities.