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The Treasury Department slaps sanctions on a cryptocurrency mining company. The FBI warns the agriculture industry. And Washington's CISO is exiting. This is CyberScoop for April 21.

In a first, Treasury Department sanctions major cryptocurrency mining firm

The Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned major cryptocurrency mining company BitRiver for helping to facilitate the evasion of sanctions against Russia, its first sanctions against such a firm. “By operating vast server farms that sell virtual currency mining capacity internationally, these companies help Russia monetize its natural resources,” the Treasury press release states. “However, mining companies rely on imported computer equipment and fiat payments, which makes them vulnerable to sanctions.” So far researchers have found minimal evidence of cryptocurrency being used to avoid sanctions at a large scale, but that could change as mining operations scale up. Tonya Riley reports.

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FBI warns agricultural sector of heightened risk of ransomware attacks

The FBI is warning the agricultural sector that ransomware gangs are more likely to attack during planting and harvesting seasons, making it important for the sector to be in a heightened state of alert now that spring planting is underway. The feds say ransomware actors want to leverage the opportunity to disrupt the food supply chain in order to drive up extortion fees. The FBI's Wednesday notice to industry said that six grain cooperatives were hit with ransomware during the fall 2021 harvest, more attacks than were previously known. Two more attacks impacted agricultural companies in early 2022. The bureau did not name the victims. Suzanne Smalley has the story.

Telecom company lands former Washington state CISO

Telecommunications giant Lumen Technologies has hired former Washington state CISO Vinod Brahmapuram to lead security business development for its state, local and education practice. Brahmapuram led several major initiatives for the state government, including a centralization of network security services, which began in earnest last year when a data breach in the state auditor’s office prompted legislation giving the Office of Cybersecurity broad authority over governmentwide data-protection standards. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

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