The employees of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) started Labor Day with an unpleasant surprise: a letter in their mailbox warned them: “As of 11am on Saturday 29 April, we have detected an attack on our institutional computer services.” Regard second attack that the entity suffers within 13 months, the previous one had occurred in March 2022, but had been of a minor entity. Now, to liberate systems, cyber hackers would ask for no more and no less than a sum of $2.5 million.
“It’s a Ransomware-type attack directed at large organizations, which spreads by propagation, infecting more and more computers on the network and encrypting their contents,” the organization explained in the letter addressed to its employees.
From the moment the breach of the systems was detected, INTA activated the security protocols and set up a contingency management team led by the National Directorate of Information Systems, Technologies and Processes (DNA SITyP) together with specialists who work in close communication with the National Cybersecurity Service Directorate of the National Cabinet Office.
For the moment, INTA has decided to suspend all its services until the situation is completely under control and it will be possible to proceed with its restoration. “Since the attack began, we have been working on the analysis of infrastructure and communication links with the aim of isolating the threat and weighing the depth and characteristics of the blockade suffered,” the agency indicated.
INTA’s technology infrastructure is complex, providing services to a network of over 400 points nationwide and nearly 7,000 people. For this reason, progress in the safe, gradual and progressive recovery of the different services will certainly take several days. “These tasks require validation time for every decision that is made, so we appeal to everyone’s understanding to remain calm and patient in the face of this situation,” the agency’s leadership asked.
“Because of its institutional dimension, INTA has been and is constantly in the focus of groups such as those carrying out these cyberattacks. Some of them are minor attacks that can be easily contained, but others, like the one we are experiencing at the at the moment, they are much more difficult to control and contain,” the letter states in addressing the seriousness of the matter.
“We are focused on continuing to advance the recovery efforts and will keep you posted on progress as we are able to re-establish services in a controlled manner,” the letter concluded. As of noon this Tuesday, it had not yet been possible to regain control of the agency’s computer systems.
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.