Several US meat processing plants stopped working after the world’s largest meat producer was hit by an A.. Brazil-based JBS had to stop slaughtering 13 of its meat processing plants in the United States on Tuesday.
The ransomware attack could pose a potential threat to US food supplies. JBS is the leading beef producer in the United States and the second largest producer of pork and poultry. Depending on how long the downtime lasts, Americans could see prices rise in the meat section of the grocery store.
“I think a lot depends on how long this takes. If JBS really can’t slaughter cattle or pigs for a long period of time, really just a matter of days, then yes, because production is severely limited,” said Brad Kooima. a cattle feeder and co-owner of Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading.
JBS said in a statement Tuesday evening that it had made “significant strides” in resolving the problem and getting its systems back online.
“We have cybersecurity plans to address these types of issues and we are successfully executing those plans,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA. “Given the progress our IT professionals and factory teams have made over the past 24 hours, the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry and convenience foods will be up and running.” [Wednesday]. “
JBS told the White House that a criminal group based in Russia was likely to be responsible. The FBI is leading the investigation and Biden government officials are asking the Russian government for an explanation.
JBS said it took action as soon as it found out about the ransomware attack and is trying to restore its systems as soon as possible. It’s unclear how much money the hackers are charging or whether the company paid ransom.
The most recent incident follows that of the previous monthon the Colonial Pipeline, which led to gas shortages in several states. The Russian hacker group DarkSide took responsibility and walked away with nearly $ 5 million in ransom from Colonial.
Experts say hackers see a new opportunity.
“The hackers are realizing that they are able to influence individuals through very simple, simple attacks that can affect critical infrastructure, the food supply and ultimately the lives of ordinary citizens,” said Kiersten Todt, CEO of Cyber Standby institute.