Cybersecurity and Ag - 7

Commodity Market Safety a High Priority

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Commodity market safety protocols are in place but talking about them is taboo. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo)

Editor's Note: For the past two weeks, and continuing this week, DTN/Progressive Farmer is posting a special series called Cybersecurity and Ag to examine the threat cyberattackers pose to agriculture and explore what farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses can do to protect themselves against these high-tech criminals. This is the seventh story in the series.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (DTN) -- When it comes to a cyberattack, just how safe are the world's commodity markets?

Agricultural futures and cash markets are key components to the daily functioning of the industry, as a whole. Contacted for this article, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) would not provide anyone from their security team to answer questions regarding the safety of the marketplace. The CME did, however, share a statement and a copy of their annual report for 2020.

CME reported having 40 global employees on a cyber defense team and nearly 1,500 security incidents successfully managed (in 2020).

The statement, provided to DTN by spokesperson Laurie Bischel, says CME Group has been advancing systems, resources and processes to protect the company and its data.

"Our state-of-the-art Cyber Defense Center links virtually to our international operational cybersecurity teams and serves as a hub, allowing us to efficiently manage and quickly investigate thousands of cybersecurity events on a daily basis. CME Group's Global Information Security team conducts analysis and collaborates to efficiently respond to any systemic events that might threaten our industry and economy."

As big as CME is, it bears noting that other "big" entities with cybersecurity teams have already been the target of major attacks in 2021. One of the most frequent names appearing in the list is that of REvil, a suspected hacker group based out of Russia. The group's name, referring to the malware they created, combines the words "ransomware" and "evil."


1. COLONIAL PIPELINE -- Ransom paid of $4.4 million in bitcoin; much of that recovered by U.S. law enforcement. Suspected hacker: REvil.

2. BRENNTAG -- A chemical distribution company, paid $4.4 million. Suspected hacker: REvil.

3. ACER -- A computer manufacturer, $50 million ransom. Suspected hacker: REvil.

4. JBS FOODS -- A meat-processing company, paid $11 million. Suspected hacker: REvil.

5. QUANTA -- A computer manufacturer and business partner of Apple, $50 million ransom. Suspected hacker: REvil.

6. NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION -- A hack of confidential data regarding the Houston Rockets, no known ransom paid. Suspected hacker: Babuk.

7. AXA -- A European insurance company, hit after announcing they would stop reimbursing many clients for ransomware payments, no ransom payment made public. Suspected hacker: Avaddon.

8. CAN -- An insurance firm, no ransom payment made public. Suspected hacker: Evil Corp.

9. CD PROJEKT -- A videogame development firm out of Poland, no ransom paid due to backups in place. Suspected hacker: HelloKitty.

10. KIA MOTORS -- A car manufacturer and subsidiary of Hyundai, demand for $20 million ransom not confirmed. Suspected hacker: DoppelPaymer.


Last in the series: Practical advice to protect you, your family and business from a data breach.

You can find earlier stories in this series at:

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 1

Cybercriminals Take Aim at America's Food Supply…

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 2

Ag Corporations Prepare for Battle Against Hackers…

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 3

Is Uncle Sam Asleep on the Cybersecurity Job?…

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 4

Precision Ag Companies Strive for Cybersecurity, but Hacking Threat Remains…

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 5

Five Tools Pros Use to Protect Data and Systems…

-- Cybersecurity and Ag - 6

Team Reported Precision Ag Threat in 2018…

Victoria Myers can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @myersPF

Victoria Myers