Ransomware strike targets US agriculture industry, White House quietly hits back

An industry marked as “off limits” to Russian hackers by President Biden was hit in a ransomware attack earlier this week when the operations of two farming co-ops in Iowa and Minnesota were disrupted.

In a June meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden warned the Kremlin that cyberattacks against 16 U.S. industries – including agriculture – would not be tolerated.

The president said it was an effort to establish a “cybersecurity arrangement” and restore “order” after the largest U.S. fuel pipeline and a major meatpacking company were shut down by ransomware schemes.


On Sunday, Minnesota-based farm supply and grain marketing cooperative Crystal Valley was hit by a ransomware attack that “infected the computer system” and “severely interrupted the daily operations of the company,” the group said in a statement.

The co-op did not answer Fox News questions about the ransom amount or who is suspected behind the latest attack.

But the following day reports surfaced showing another attack was levied at Iowa-based farming co-op, NEW Cooperative, by hackers demanding a $5.9 million cryptocurrency payout in exchange for renewed access to its food supply chains.

NEW Cooperative did not respond to a Fox News request for an interview. But according to the Wall Street Journal, Russian cybercrime group BlackMatter is believed to be behind the attack.

In a screen shot by Dark Feed, the group appeared to mock NEW Cooperative by suggesting they did not fall under “critical” infrastructure outlined by Biden.

The farming group warned the cybercrime group in an online chat that they attacked the agricultural industry and could face severe consequences from the U.S. government, Recorded Future shared in a tweet.

Despite reports that BlackMatter was negotiating with the Iowa co-op, a National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson told Fox News that the U.S. government has not formally attributed the attacks to a specific group.

“That being said, we are bringing the full weight…