Another week, another major cyberattack on US infrastructure, this time with the operations of the world's largest meat processor, JBS, being the target, shutting down all of its US plants.
A cyberattack on JBS SA, the largest meat producer globally, forced the shutdown of all its U.S. beef plants, wiping out output from facilities that supply almost a quarter of American supplies.
All of the company’s fed-beef and regional beef plants were forced to shutter, and all other JBS meatpacking facilities in the country experienced some level of disruption to operations, according to an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
JBS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The union represents workers at the company’s plants in the U.S.
Slaughter operations across Australia were also down, according to a trade group, and one of Canada’s largest beef plants was idled. That comes after a weekend attack on the Brazilian company’s computer networks, according to JBS posts on Facebook, labor unions and employees.
It’s unclear exactly how many plants globally have been affected by the ransomware attack as Sao Paulo-based JBS has yet to release those details. The prospect of more extensive shutdowns worldwide is already upending agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. Livestock futures slumped, while pork prices rose.
Hackers now have the commodities industry in their crosshairs with the JBS attack coming just three weeks after Colonial Pipeline Co., operator of the biggest U.S. gasoline pipeline, was targeted in a ransomware attack. It also happened as the global meat industry battles lingering Covid-19 absenteeism after recovering from outbreaks last year that saw plants shut and supplies disrupted.
The White House offered assistance to JBS after the company notified the Biden administration on Sunday of a cyberattack from a criminal organization likely based in Russia, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday.
There have been more than 40 publicly reported ransomware attacks against food companies since May 2020, said Allan Liska, senior security architect at cybersecurity analytics firm Recorded Future.
Expect meat prices to skyrocket as we head into summer grilling season, and that's the point: to hang higher prices at the pump, at the grocery store, and at restaurants around the neck of President Biden.
Ask cui bono, who benefits from the crime the most, and you'll find your perps.
Hint, one is orange, and the other is very, very red.