World’s biggest meat supplier JBS under cyberattack; what we know so far

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After the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the US and Australian systems of JBS, the world's largest meat processing company, is under cyber siege.

World’s biggest meat supplier JBS under cyberattack; what we know so far
Sao Paulo-headquartered JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, suffered from a cyberattack in its North America and Australia systems on May 30, resulting in work being disrupted for thousands of employees.
Well-known hacker collective REvil Group is behind the cyberattack on JBS, CNBC reported quoting a source.
Nearly 7,000 workers in its Australian abattoirs and at least 3,000 workers across Canada and the US have been asked to quit. The company has issued a statement that they would commence operations from Wednesday.
JBS holds 20 percent of the meat processing market share in the US.
Where was the Cyberattack?
After the group realised that they had been attacked on May 30, they immediately swung into action by suspending operations of the affected systems and notifying concerned authorities. The cyberattack has hit some servers supporting its Australian and Northern American information technology systems.
Has JBS been Compromised?
As officials sift through data and try and get operations up and running, the company said they are not aware of any breach of data for customers, suppliers or employees. It would take time to sort out and there are chances of a delay in transactions for some customers and suppliers.
How it Affects JBS?
The systems for JBS run smoothly as the company and the industry per se relies on software and IT systems for tracing and sorting of animals. Also, records are to be maintained meticulously to meet the strict regulatory standards. With these plants closed, the US Department of Agriculture had to delay its reports on livestock and meat prices. The reason they shared was “packer submission issues.”
Plants Closed
JBS’ beef plant in Cactus, Texas, Brooks, Alberta, and the Greeley plant, which is the largest US slaughterhouse, were closed. Further, JBS has not given any indication as to when they will open processing of cattle, pigs and sheep at its 47 facilities in Australia.
Meat on the Table?
The longer the shutdown, the more severe will be the impact on food production. Since JBS exports about 60 percent of its products, the impact will be minimal in the US market for now.
Market Reaction
The Financial Times reported that cattle futures declined on the expectation that herds would back up outside slaughterhouses and the benchmark contract in Chicago fell almost 4 percent at one point on June 1.
White House Steps in
After the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack last month, JBS is the second serious cyberattack on a large US corporate house.
The White House has engaged directly with the Kremlin on this matter and has delivered a strong message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals. Even the FBI has launched an investigation into this attack. US President Joe Biden has also directed the administration to look at ways to mitigate supply disruptions, according to a Financial Times report.
The government is getting into the act as JBS is the world’s largest meat processor, controlling a 20 percent market share of meat processing in the US alone. A shutdown or attacks like this one can lead to massive implications for the US national food supply.
Kremlin Reacts
The Kremlin denied that it has any knowledge of these attacks. If any official request for assistance is asked, the Russian government will be happy to oblige, it has said.
The likelihood of cybercrime figuring on the agenda of the proposed meeting between Putin and Biden at Geneva this month is high.
Other Attacks on US food cos
Three months ago, JFC International, a subsidiary of Japanese food manufacturer Kikkoman and a major distributor and wholesaler of Asian food products, faced a similar cyberattack. The company was targeted in a ransomware attack that disrupted some of its IT systems and affected its subsidiary Europe Group.
 

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