JBS Meat Supplier Victim of Massive Cyberattack, Officials Accuse Russian-Based Criminal Group Responsible

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Officials announced major meat producer JBS USA was the victim of a massive cyberattack on Sunday, which affected the company’s servers that supported IT systems in North America and Australia.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier, or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation. Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers,” JBS said.

Massive Cyberattack

The company is a part of JBS Foods, one of the largest food companies worldwide. It provides services in 15 countries and has customers in about 100 countries. The company’s brands include Pilgrim’s, Great Southern, and Aberdeen Black.

JBS officials said they are currently working with an incident response firm to bring back its systems as soon as possible. During a press conference on Tuesday, the White House addressed the cyberattack.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the ransomware attack on JBS was “from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” She also said the White House was directly confronting the Russian government to resolve the matter.

On Sunday, JBS reported to the White House it was the victim of a cyberattack, Jean-Pierre said. White House officials then offered the company its assistance along with the Agriculture Department. She also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into the case.

United States President Joe Biden ordered his administration to identify mitigation procedures to reduce the impact of the attack on the country’s meat supply, Jean-Pierre said. Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud tweeted on Tuesday talking about the attack on JBS.

Littleproud revealed JBS is working closely with other companies including ones in Australia to restart operations and identify the criminals. The cyberattack on the meat supplier company comes a few weeks after the Colonial Pipeline incident that resulted in a six-day shutdown of one of the country’s largest fuel pipelines.

“If the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack didn’t impact enough consumers to spur response by the international community, the JBS meat supplier incident likely will. Now is the time for a global agreement to break the business model of ransomware,” the Director of Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center, Meg King, said, CNN reported.

“The supply chains, logistics, and transportation that keep our society moving are especially vulnerable to ransomware, where attacks on chokepoints can have outsized effects and encourage hasty payments,” VP of analysis at cybersecurity firm Mandiant Threat Intelligence, John Hultquist, said.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.