crystal valley

The Free Press

MANKATO — Crystal Valley Cooperative, a farm supply and grain marketing organization, was hit with a ransomware attack that has infected computers and disrupted operations at the Mankato-based co-op.

Crystal Valley officials were alerted Sunday they had been targeted in a ransomware attack, which typically involves threats to release private information or to block access to critical files unless a ransom is paid to the cybercriminals.

“This attack has infected the computer network systems at Crystal Valley and interrupted the daily operations of the company,” according to a news release issued just after 4 p.m. Tuesday. “Due to this computer breach, all systems of the Mankato-based cooperative have been shut down until they can be restored safely and securely.”

The co-op’s website was up and running by late afternoon and included a similar alert that the attack had “severely interrupted” operations: “Because of this, we are unable to accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover at our cardtrols until further notice.”

A cardtrol is a device allowing access to a fuel dealer’s unattended pump.

The co-op serves 2,500 farmers and livestock producers in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, employing 260 full-time workers.

Attempts by The Free Press to reach Crystal Valley for more information on the scope of the attack — including whether personal or financial information of members, customers and employees had been compromised — were unsuccessful.

In a written statement, CEO Roger Kielholz said: “We are working diligently with our internal IT team along with multiple outside technology vendors to restore our data and return to full-service operation in a matter of days, especially now with fall harvest getting underway.”

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