The world’s largest meat supplier has been hit by a cyber attack, in which hackers have disabled internal computer systems and forced the company to suspend parts of its operations.
JBS, a Brazilian meat company operating in 15 countries and employing 250,000 people, announced on Sunday that it had been attacked – weeks after the colonial pipeline, which transported fuel from Texas to the East Coast, was shut down by hackers from the Russian-based group Dark Side.
That hack wreaked havoc on drivers for days as fuel pumps ran dry amid panicked gasoline purchases. After the May 7 attack, a ransom of $4.4 million was paid, their CEO confirmed.
The announcement of the meat supply hack was made by the Colorado-based US division. They did not say whether ransom was being negotiated.
JBS USA oversees the beef and lamb operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – a massive operation with 18 beef processing units, six feedlots, two learning units, two lamb units and one pork unit, eight processed food units, nine logistics centers and eight distribution centers in the three countries.
The US was not affected by the hack, Bloomberg reported — but it was unclear whether that was because the factory was closed for Memorial Day.
JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, said on Sunday that their US division had been hacked. The US itself is not affected, but Canada and Australia – which are part of the US division – have reported being closed. Workers are seen at a JBS factory in Lapa, Brazil’s Parana state in March 2017
In Canada, their beef factory in Brooks, Alberta — about 120 miles east of Calgary — was down on Monday, a union representative said. Bloomberg.
Scott Payne, spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union Local 401, said: “There are no union workers there. That basically means that factory operations have been shut down for today.”
The JBS packaging facility in Belleville, Ontario — which prepares beef, pork and salmon for grocery stores — was operating normally, said Tim Deelstra, a spokesman for UFCW Canada Local 175.
In Australia, all JBS beef and lamb slaughters were canceled nationwide, affecting facilities in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
JBS said in a statement that the “organized cybersecurity attack” was detected Sunday and affected “some servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.”
The entrance to JBS Australia’s meat factory in Dinmore, west of Brisbane. JBS is active in 15 countries worldwide and employs 250,000 people
They continued: “The company took immediate action by suspending all affected systems, notifying authorities and activating the company’s global network of IT professionals and outside experts to resolve the situation.
“The company’s backup servers were not affected and it is actively working with an Incident Response company to restore its systems as quickly as possible.”
JBS said it does not believe that “customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.”
The company warned that delays are likely.
“Resolving the incident will take time, which could delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers,” they said.
Butchers are seen in a JBS facility. The company doesn’t just supply meat: it also trades in leather, biodiesel and collagen, in addition to running huge packaging facilities
Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official, said: USA today that the attacks on an oil pipeline and then a meat supplier ‘show that nothing is safe’.
“Not the meat processing industry, not the chemical industry, not the wastewater treatment industry, not Sony. Nothing,’ he said.
“And the only way to be safe in this world is to pull the plug completely. And you can’t do that and be economically competitive.’
Rosenzweig, senior fellow Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats at the nonpartisan research organization R Street Institute in Washington, said the success of the cyberattack on the colonial pipeline has encouraged hackers.
“Until they actually pay the consequences, they’ll keep doing it,” he said.
“I mean, the Colonial guys got away with $50 million or whatever it was – not bad for a week’s work.
“Who knows what the JBS guys will get away with?
‘As long as the internet is a place of anonymity, criminals can act with impunity.
“And why would they stop?”