National Rainier Cherry Day: Risk of ransomware attacks on growers during harvest season

Monday is National Rainier Cherry Day, celebrating the peak of the Rainier cherry harvest for growers in Washington, but FBI Seattle warns agricultural cooperatives to beware of ransomware attacks during this critical season.

This yellow variety of cherry was developed in 1952 at Washington State University and named after Mount Rainier. Washington is the largest producer of Rainier cherries in the US. However, the FBI says this profitable commercial crop could be a target for cyberattacks in the agriculture sector. 

Ransomware actors may be more likely to attack during planting and harvest seasons, according to the FBI. These attacks have the potential to disrupt operations, causing financial loss and negatively impacting the food supply chain. 

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The FBI encourages Washington cherry growers to follow certain recommendations to protect themselves against ransomware attacks. This includes regularly backing up critical data, installing antivirus software, only using secure Wi-Fi networks, and developing a plan to operate manually if systems go offline.