Monsanto has admitted credit card data along with names, addresses and US taxation information for 1300 customers and employees was compromised in after hackers broke into its servers.
breach affected Monsanto's Precision Planting division which
manufactured specialist farming equipment. It came as the agriculture
giant pushed to sell big data intelligence services harvested from and disseminated to its customers.
Precision Planting senior counsel Reuben Shelton said in a letter (pdf) sent to the Office of the Attorney General Maryland the attackers were not thought to have sought client and staff data.
believe this unauthorised 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," Shelton said.
"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.
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."
The company told specialist agriculture news site Argi-Pulse hackers did not steal customer farming data which was stored on a separate server.
has offered affected staff and clients a year of credit monitoring
services to combat the risk of subsequent fraud and was reviewing the
security of its systems.
The ag giant has been a favourite target of hacktivists. In 2011, members of the Anonymous hacking collective stole and published details of 2500 Monsanto employees.
More recently, members operating under #operationgreenrights
last month claimed to have hacked and released 1800 usernames and
passwords stolen from companies including Monsanto. In January it released what it claimed were 48 database name records along with login information.