U.S. Agriculture Chief urges farm co-ops to toughen cyber defenses

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Vilsack urged U.S. agricultural cooperatives to “harden” defenses against cyber attacks.

By Mike Dorning

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged U.S. agricultural cooperatives to “harden” defenses against cyber attacks after Iowa’s New Cooperative Inc. was targeted in a ransomware attack last week.

“We want to make sure during this harvest that we don’t have any additional disruptions as a result of systems being hacked,” Vilsack said Wednesday in a speech to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual meeting.

A spokeswoman for Vilsack didn’t immediately respond to a request for further information on the threat posed.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation “are in close contact with New Cooperative and have offered assistance in supporting the company’s response and recovery,” CISA Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Eric Goldstein said in an emailed statement. “The company is engaging proactively with CISA as the investigation progresses.”

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
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