Another Russian Attack on America’s Food Supply—Because Nobody Takes Biden Seriously

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Despite repeated warnings from Presidentish Joe Biden against ransomware attacks coming from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, somehow another proscribed target just got hit by the Russians.

The “somehow” was facetious, I assure you.

This time Russian hacker group BlackMatter targeted an Iowa grain co-op, demanding nearly six million dollars or else they’d leak the company’s proprietary business data.

The co-op, New Cooperative, manages “supply chains and feeding schedules on track for millions of chickens, hogs and cattle,” according to the Washington Post.

The cooperative took its computer network offline to isolate the incursion, the person said, and shuttered its soil-mapping software — a master-control system that optimizes irrigation and fertilization — as a precaution.

The whole mess has yet to be ironed out, and it remains to be seen whether or how this impacts U.S. food production at a time of supply chain troubles and rising inflation.

After months of rising ransomware attacks, many coming from Russia with Moscow’s implicit go-ahead, Biden met Putin in Washington last June, where he presented the Russian strongman with “a list of 16 critical infrastructure ‘entities’ that must be ‘off-limits’ to cyberattacks and hinted at major retaliation from the United States should Russia allow continued malign activity in the sphere.”

Later that month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that “we will respond” if the ransomware attacks continued.

The ransomware attacks continued.

Then in July, Biden spoke to Putin by phone and told him that the U.S. would “take any necessary action to defend its people and its critical infrastructure in the face of this continuing challenge.” At the time, a White House official tried to add heft to Biden’s warning, telling reporters that the US would hit back hard: “Some of them [counterattacks] will be manifest and visible, some of them may not be, but we expect those to take place in the days and weeks ahead.”

The ransomware attacks continued.

Also in July, the Russian cyber gang REvil mysteriously disappeared. But if that was due to a U.S. counterstrike, it obviously failed to have any deterrent effect whatsoever. In August, CBS News reported that Putin’s own intelligence services were working hand-in-hand with “prominent ransomware gangs to compromise U.S. government and government-affiliated organizations.”

Just last week, WaPo’s Joseph Marks drolly noted that there are “still no signs of Russian cooperation on ransomware.”

You don’t say.

Many (including Yours Truly) believe that by giving Putin a list of 16 “no-strike” targets, Biden effectively gave Russia the green light to hit anything else.

Except that by hitting a major link in the U.S. food supply chain this week, Russia showed yet again that they don’t need a green light from anyone to hit anything.

Nobody takes the American President* seriously, and until that changes, the ransomware attacks will just get worse.