(Bloomberg) -- Iowa-based grain cooperative New Cooperative Inc. was struck by ransomware on or around September 17, according to Allan Liska, senior threat analyst at the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc. The ransomware gang, which goes by the name BlackMatter, is demanding a $5.9 million ransom, Liska said.
“New Cooperative recently identified a cybersecurity incident that is impacting some of our company’s devices and systems,” according to a statement from the cooperative. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively taken our systems offline to contain the threat, and we can confirm it has been successfully contained.”
The cooperative contacted law enforcement and are working with data security experts to investigate and remediate the situation, according to the statement. “New Cooperative is treating this matter with utmost seriousness, and we are using every available tool and resource to quickly restore our systems. We appreciate the patience of our valued customers as we investigate this matter and work to restore functionality and will share additional information directly with our customers as we learn it.”
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unclear to what extent New Cooperative’s systems have been affected. BlackMatter is believed to be linked to the ransomware group DarkSide, which attacked Colonial Pipeline Inc. earlier this year, triggering fuel shortages along on the East Coast.
According to a post on BlackMatter’s website, the ransomware group has stolen New Cooperative’s financial information, human resources data, research and development information and source code for its “SoilMap” product, a technology platform for agricultural producers. A message on SoilMap’s website says the product is currently unavailable.
Based in Fort Dodge, Iowa, New Cooperative has over 50 locations across the top U.S. corn-growing state and is among the larger crop buyers from its farmer members. The cooperative, which in July announced a merger with MaxYield Cooperative, also distributes fuel and crop chemicals.
(Updates with statement from New Cooperative in second and third paragraphs.)
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.