The cyberattack on world-grown meat company JBS was carried out with ransomware and has now shut down gross parts of its operations in North America. This is according to US media reports and a statement from the White House. According to the statement, the U.S. government was informed by the company that the attack was carried out by a criminal organization, which probably operates from Russia.
Therefore, direct contact was made with the government in Moscow and the message was conveyed, "That responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals". The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has begun an investigation, and this and similar attacks could also be a topic at the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Biden and his Russian counterpart Putin.
Critical infrastructure in the USA affected again
JBS is the world’s largest meat producer and operates mainly in Australia, South and North America. Earlier this week, the group announced that it had fallen victim to a cyberattack, the full extent of which was yet to be seen. In Australia, JBS had to cancel all scheduled slaughters; its operations in South America were not affected. Because Monday was a holiday in the U.S. and Canada, the severity of the impact became clear only on Tuesday. According to the New York Times, JBS had to close all beef processing plants, and shifts were canceled at poultry and pork plants. According to the report, at least one factory in Canada also had to stop work.
According to the report, JBS expects to be able to resume operations in the USA on Wednesday, but first shifts have already been cancelled. In total, the company is responsible for one-fifth of beef production in the U.S. and further delays could have a huge impact. On Tuesday, however, it was still possible to deliver meat to customers from the warehouses of almost all factories. The company also said that it had made significant "significant progress" in the fight against the consequences of the attack. There has been no saving of resources. According to the industry journal Beef Central, those responsible for the ransomware have demanded loose money from JBS, but it is unknown how much.
While the cyberattack has probably had the most serious consequences in Australia so far, parallels with the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline are already being pointed out in the U.S. Once again, malicious hackers are causing a critical infrastructure failure in the U.S. After the attack, Colonial Pipeline shut down the most important fuel pipeline in the U.S. for days, causing bottlenecks at gas stations. The attack on JBS could now have consequences for restaurants and supermarkets, just as business picks up again. If the production stoppage lasts longer, it could make an already difficult situation much worse, the New York Times quotes an expert as saying.