The main US meat packer, JBS, said on Tuesday it was hobbled by a cyberattack and temporarily shut down its entire computer network. The attack took place on August 30 and involved the company’s Brazilian arm, JBS SA, the company said in a statement. The company said the attackers had appeared to seek payment details for car parts, and that it would provide no further information. JBS is the world’s biggest meatpacker, and the largest private company by revenue in Brazil.
Cyber attacks have stolen a massive amount of money and data from companies around the world, including companies that supply meat to the US. The story begins with a preliminary report from the Wall Street Journal, which says that hackers breached the computer systems of Brazil’s largest meatpacker, JBS A. Schmitz S.A. (JBS), and that the company lost $1.3 billion in a cyberattack.Meat processing plant JBS SA JBSAY 4.16 was attacked by ransomware that shut down most beef and pork processing plants in the United States, forcing buyers to look for alternatives and increasing pressure on meat supplies. The attack has increased pressure on the food supply chain, which is already under strain from labour shortages, production constraints and high transport costs. A company executive said late Tuesday that JBS was making progress in rebuilding its systems and that most meat processing plants would be operational again by Wednesday. Brazilian company JBS, the world’s largest meat company by revenue, has notified the Biden administration that it has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, White House deputy spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. She said JBS had reported that the attack came from a criminal group likely based in Russia.
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News, analysis and opinion on cyber security from the WSJ’s international team of journalists and editors. The White House is in direct contact with the Russian government on this to send a signal that responsible nations should not harbor extortionist criminals, Jean-Pierre said. JBS would not comment on the White House’s description of the attack. This attack is the latest in a growing number of attacks targeting various businesses and facilities, including hospitals, the oil industry and local water supplies. At JBS, the attack shut down operations at the meat plant, which is one of the largest in the United States, according to employee representatives and messages sent to JBS employees. APS companies in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Texas were among those affected. According to posts from the company and from individual factories on social media, JBS factories in Australia and Canada have been affected, as well as factories in the United States. Even one day of disruption would have a significant effect on the beef market and wholesale beef prices. – Steiner Consulting Group Analysts Meat market analysts say plant closures resulting from the APS raid could soon lead to higher consumer prices, which have risen this year due to strong demand and a tight labor market for many types of crochet. Even one day of disruption would have a significant impact on the beef market and wholesale beef prices, write analysts at Steiner Consulting Group, a meat industry research firm. Suzanne Raichi, chief executive officer of New York-based restaurant supplier Ginsberg’s Foods, said it is looking for a new source of chicken, which it normally sources from the West Virginia plant operated by Ginsberg’s Foods. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. PPC – 0.25 The company is majority owned by JBS. Pilgrim’s canceled a delivery of fresh chicken to Ginsberg’s restaurant Tuesday because of the attack, Raichy said. Pilgrim’s told her it would try to rebuild production lines in the coming days, she added, but could not say if and when deliveries would resume. There is a real buying frenzy right now, Raichy said. The whole supply chain for fresh produce has reached its limits. JBS shipped products from nearly all of its U.S. facilities on Tuesday, the company said. In a statement, the USDA urged competing meatpackers to ramp up processing while APS facilities are not in operation and, if possible, secure their own processing systems. For JBS, which processes nearly a quarter of U.S. beef and about a fifth of pork, the attack represents a new threat to the industry most affected by Covid-19. When the pandemic hit the U.S., unions estimated that tens of thousands of factory workers were infected, leading to a production freeze last spring and a drop in livestock. Meat factories have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on temporary pay raises, temperature scanners and workplace separations. This attack demonstrates that such intrusions are an increasing and potentially costly risk to business operations. These attacks can also affect everyday life in the United States. Last month, a cyberattack on fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline Co. took out the supplier’s main pipeline on the U.S. East Coast, leading to a stampede to regional gas stations and helping gasoline prices soar to the highest level in 6.5 years. In the wake of the colonial attack, lawmakers warn that criminal extortion gangs are increasingly targeting infrastructure and businesses across the United States and disrupting daily operations. JBS said the cyber attack did not affect its backup servers and that the company was working with technology experts to restore its systems. Last Tuesday, JBS said there was no evidence that customer, supplier or employee data had been compromised. The company had previously warned that the attack could cause delays for meat buyers, feed mills and other suppliers. The company said its offices in Mexico and the United Kingdom were not affected by the attack. Our systems are back online and we are not sparing any resources to combat this threat, Nogueira said. A cyberattack on the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. lost fuel on May 7, raising gasoline prices and causing shortages in parts of the Southeast. The WSJ explains how vulnerable the country’s critical energy infrastructure is to attack. Illustration photo: Liz Ornitz/WSJ At JBS’s beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania, which the company says is the largest beef plant east of Chicago, employees were told there would be no slaughter or processing on Tuesday, company officials said. Wendell Young, President of the local branch of the International Trade Union of Food and Commercial Workers, representing workers in the APS factory. In Greeley, Colorado, where JBS has another large beef processing plant, services were canceled because of a cyber attack, a spokeswoman for the local chapter of the UFCW said. JBS’ beef plant in Cactus, Texas, also shut down operations Tuesday except for maintenance and some other functions, according to a notice on the plant’s website. Facebook Page. The JBS pork plant in Ottumwa, Iowa, informed workers that crews engaged in cattle slaughter and bacon cutting were suspended Tuesday, according to another Facebook post. In Worthington, Minnesota, where JBS has another pork production plant, the cutting, trimming and boning crews were suspended Tuesday, according to a statement on the plant’s Facebook page. Trading in live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell Tuesday, with the most active cattle contract closing 1.9 percent lower at nearly $1.17 a pound. According to cattle dealers, a major factor in the drop in contract values was the chop, which increased the risk that some farms would not be able to buy cattle. This week’s cattle were stopped because packers simply weren’t slaughtering enough cattle to help feedlots meet current volumes, officials said. Dennis Smith, A commodity broker at Archer Financial Services Inc. So the sector was already in trouble before the crisis. JBS said the attack targeted part of its information technology and the company has since stopped using the affected servers. Attacks on computer systems can cause devastation, but cybersecurity experts say hackers can do even more damage if they get their hands on the control technology used to power plants and other industrial equipment. -Tarini Partee, Jesse Newman and David Uberti contributed to this article.
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