World’s largest meat supplier comes to a standstill after cyber attack

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JBS, a Brazilian company that supplies a fifth of the world’s meat, fell victim to a coordinated cyber attack, Bloomberg reports.

Details are still emerging about the scale and severity of the attack – which became clear to JBS on May 30 and disclosed in a memo to staff on May 31 – but it has resulted in some of the largest slaughterhouses in the US are already closed , and at least a in Canada. According to BloombergJBS has suspended its own IT systems in Australia and North America, although the company’s backup servers appear to be unaffected. Of course, the shutdowns of computer systems and physical factories are likely to lead to delivery delays.

In a press conference earlier today, Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy White House press secretary, described the attack as coming from “a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” JBS has not yet disclosed whether the attack involved ransomware, although the broad shutdowns are consistent with the effects of a ransomware attack.

This marks yet another high-profile piece of infrastructure that has been targeted by Russian hacking groups, following the Colonial Pipeline attack last month. JBS is not based in the US, but due to its disproportionate role in the meat supply, the attack has the potential to disrupt the global availability of beef and pork if not resolved quickly. As such, the White House has provided support to the company and is “working directly with the Russian government on this matter, conveying the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.