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Cyber Daily: Iowa Grain Cooperative Hit in Cyberattack Linked to Ransomware Group

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Hello. As WSJ Pro's David Uberti reports, agriculture group New Cooperative shut down certain tech systems after a ransomware incident in which BlackMatter hackers claim to have stolen 1,000 gigabytes of information.

New Cooperative warned its attackers in an online chat that they were targeting critical infrastructure and could face a more forceful government response as a result. BlackMatter's reply suggested New Cooperative doesn't qualify as critical infrastructure.

That spat aside, if any ransom is paid, it could be a test case for restrictions expected from the Biden administration to more tightly regulate cryptocurrency transactions.

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Collaboration Is Key

Playing the blame game wastes time. Once these two operations unite, you'll proactively detect threats without pointing fingers.

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Attack on Agriculture Group

Grain co-op hit: Fort Dodge, Iowa-based New Cooperative Inc. said Monday that it took its computer networks down after some of its devices and systems recently were hacked.

Security researchers linked the attack to newly launched ransomware group BlackMatter, which the researchers said demanded $5.9 million by Sept. 25 to unlock New Cooperative's data.

BlackMatter said on its website that it had encrypted New Cooperative's data and stolen 1,000 gigabytes worth of files, including invoices, research and development documents, and the source code to its soil-mapping technology.

New Cooperative disabled its soil-mapping platform as a precautionary measure to protect customers from hackers, a person familiar with the matter said.

Cybersecurity experts say BlackMatter bears similarities to DarkSide, the group that hacked Colonial Pipeline Co. in May.

Read the full story.

More Cyber and Privacy News

Italian mafia linked to phishing, fraud. European law enforcement agencies, including Europol, arrested 106 individuals in Spain and Italy who allegedly took in $11.7 million last year through phishing, online fraud, drug trafficking and other ploys. The agencies said they froze 118 bank accounts associated with the ring, some members of which are linked to the Italian mafia. (Bleeping Computer)

Real-estate firm Marcus & Millichap discloses cyberattack. Calabasas, Calif.-based Marcus & Millichap Inc. continues to investigate a cyberattack and improve its security measures, the commercial real-estate company said in a regulatory filing Monday. The company said it was able to restore essential systems with no material disruption to its business. The filing didn't say what kind of attack it was or when it occured.

Mortgage lender suspends tech firm after ransomware attack. Nations Lending Corp. said it paused business with real estate tech provider Cloudstar following a ransomware incident that compromised the personal data of 17,300 Nations customers. Nations has begun notifying mortgage applicants that their personal and financial details were stored on Cloudstar systems and could have been accessed during the hack.

"We suspended any further transactions with the vendor and moved pending closings to our other service providers," Nations said in a notification letter. It won't resume business with Cloudstar until it passes a security evaluation and minimizes the amount of time Nations data is stored on its systems.

Cloudstar disclosed the attack July 18, later saying it caused "extensive impact" to some of its technology systems.

Capital One is hiring. Rob Alexander, chief information officer of Capital One Financial Corp., plans this year to hire 3,000 cybersecurity professionals, data and machine-learning engineers, and other tech workers. (WSJ CIO Journal)

Ireland's Data Protection Commission raised questions about privacy protections related to Facebook's Ray-Ban smart sunglasses.

Facebook's camera glasses draw scrutiny from Ireland's privacy regulator. Ireland's Data Protection Commission said Friday it wants Facebook to prove how an LED light on its smart glasses give proper notice to people that they are being recorded. The glasses, branded by Ray-Ban, look like classic dark-framed shades but contain two cameras that record on command. Facebook said it will work with regulators. (TechCrunch)

▶️ Watch WSJ Video: Ray-Ban and Facebook's Camera-Equipped Sunglasses. Cool? Yes. Creepy? Yes.

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