Monsanto, a chemical and agricultural technology corporation has publicly revealed that the company has suffered a data breach. In the breach personal credentials belonging to customers and employees of its Precision Planting branch were affected. Personal information included names, addresses, possibly Social Security numbers and some financial account information.
Monsanto discovered the breach on March 27, but chose to not publicly announce the breach till May 14. Company officials stated that the incident came from unauthorized access to a server. The server contained various sensitive documents housing more than 1,200 customer and employee Precision Planting unit documents. The Precision Planting unit provides agricultural services and farm equipment throughout the company.
“On March 27 we discovered unauthorized access to our systems had occurred by an outside party. Files on the affected servers contained personal information, including customer names, addresses, tax identification numbers (which in some cases could be Social Security Numbers) , and (in some cases) financial account information. Additionally, some HR data was stored on the servers , including some W2 tax forms that contained employee name, address, and Social Security numbers and (for a small number of employees) driver’s license numbers,” Reuben Shelton, senior counsel at the Precision Planting unit wrote in the breach disclosure letter to the office of the Maryland Attorney general.
Monsanto does not believe the attackers attempted to steal affected customer information but the company is choosing to work with the FBI to assess the incident.
“We believe this unauthorized access was not an attempt to steal customer information; however, it is possible that files containing personal information may have been accessed and therefore we are making this notification,” the letter says.
“The incident has been contained and we have partnered with a leading forensics firm to understand and remediate this issue. In addition, we have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance.”