Cyberattacks a “wake up call” for ag businesses


Cyberattacks a “wake up call” for ag businesses

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois says recent cyberattacks on the country’s largest meat packer JBS and the Colonial Pipeline have outlined a need to create standards for ag businesses to follow if posed with a cyber threat.

During the National Grain and Feed Association’s Convention last week, Bustos quoted a letter to businesses from the National Security Council’s top cyber official Ann Neuberger.  

“She said ‘no company is safe from ransomware’. So this is a big, big wake up call.”

Bustos says after recently disrupting the US food supply chain and transportation sector it is very possible cyber-attackers could target those again and other vital sectors like nuclear power plants and healthcare systems.

Bustos says ransomware attacks are something every company needs to be prepared for and she suggests there needs to be a whole government approach to this matter.

“If you think about it from your own business perspective, would you know what to do if this happened to you? Would you know who to call, who to bring in? Would you be able to identify the issue right away and stop it? Would you pay the ransomware or would you not? We need some standards.”

Cargill CEO David MacLennan tells Brownfield ransomware is not a new issue and they’re working to educate employees about how to be more responsible of potential threats.

“As we’ve seen with the administration, treating it as a terrorism act, we’re taking it very, very seriously not only by our company but all corporations big and small, as well as the government,” he says.  “It’s a reality of today’s world.”

The National Grain and Feed Association shared with its members a guide from the Department of Homeland Security on ransomware prevention practices to help businesses prepare for a potential attack.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos speaks during the 2021 National Grain and Feed Association Convention