A trio of federal agencies sounded the alarm on Monday that critical infrastructure groups, particularly agricultural organizations, were being attacked by a productive ransomware group.

The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the National Security Agency (NSA) have one joint advice Warning of “BlackMatter ransomware” attacks, which the group links to previous attacks this year.

“Since July 2021, the BlackMatter ransomware has targeted several critical US infrastructure companies, including two US food and agriculture organizations,” the authorities wrote.

“BlackMatter actors have attacked numerous US organizations demanding ransom payments ranging from $ 80,000 to $ 15,000,000 in Bitcoin and Monero,” they warned.

Bloomberg News reports last month that BlackMatter was likely behind the ransomware attack on major US agricultural conglomerate New Cooperative, which refused to pay a $ 5.9 million ransom.

The agencies noted that BlackMatter is “a possible rebranding of DarkSide,” the group linked to the Colonial Pipeline attack in May that forced the company to shut down gas supplies for nearly a week, causing shortages in several states led. DarkSide, presumably based in Russia, went offline shortly after the attack due to a law enforcement operation.

“This advice underscores the evolving and persistent nature of cyber criminal actors and the need for a shared public and private approach to reduce the impact and spread of ransomware attacks,” said Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director, Cybersecurity, CISA. in a statement on Monday.

Bryan Vorndran, assistant director of the FBI’s cyber department, has called for groups affected by ransomware attacks to report the incidents to the FBI in order to help the federal government stop these attacks.

“By reporting a cyber incident, the targeted units improve our ability to react and investigate with the aim of disrupting cybercriminal operations,” Vorndran said in a statement. “We will continue to use our unique authorities and skills to protect the American people from this threat; However, we cannot achieve this alone. “

The joint recommendation was issued less than a week after an A was issued by the FBI, CISA, NSA, and the Environmental Protection Agency separated Warning of hacker attacks on water and wastewater treatment groups and of escalating ransomware attacks in recent months.

JBS USA, a large meat producer, and IT company Kaseya have also been hit by ransomware attacks with a Russian connection, while companies like Sinclair Broadcast Group and T-Mobile have also been hit by cyber attacks in the past few weeks.

Rob Joyce, director of cybersecurity at the NSA, on Monday called on companies to increase cybersecurity following the rise in cyber attacks.

“The ransomware threat goes beyond its specific impact on a victim company – it has become a national security concern,” Joyce said in a statement. “Applying the mitigations in the joint consultation with CISA and FBI will protect networks and reduce the risk of BlackMatter and other ransomware attacks.”


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