FILE – In this Oct. 12, 2020 file photo, a worker heads into the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo. A weekend ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat company is disrupting production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil pipeline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
UPDATED 9:01 AM PT – Thursday, June 3, 2021
The world’s largest meat supplier said it has resumed most production after a cyber attack shutdown operations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. On Wednesday, JBS employees returned to work after it closed its nine U.S.-based beef plants the day before.
The Brazilian company controls around 20 percent of all the slaughtering capacity for U.S. cattle and hogs. While the company has not said whether or not they paid a ransom to the hackers, JBS told the White House that a Russia-based criminal group called Revil is likely to blame.
“President Biden certainly thinks that President Putin and the Russian government has a role to play in stopping and preventing these attacks,” stated White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “Hence, it will be a topic of discussion when they meet in two weeks.”
This incident followed a similar ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last month. In that case, the fuel company confirmed it paid a ransom of $4.4 million. Cybersecurity expert Mark Ostrowski explained that this type of attack is becoming more common.
“It goes to show that really everything is on the table for ransomware attacks, so we’ve seen the attacks on supply chains, whether they’re tied to industry like the gas Colonial Pipeline,” he explained. “And we’ve seen things tied to food and beverage, and now here we sit in industries that are tied to our supply chain relative to meat and poultry are now being targeted as well.”
In the meantime, an FBI investigation into the JBS attack is underway.