According to Bloomberg, JBS, a Brazilian company that supplies one-fifth of the world’s meat, was the victim of a coordinated cyberattack.
Details about the scope and severity of the attack, which became known to JBS on May 30th and was disclosed to employees in a memo on the 31st, are still emerging, but it has already forced the closure of some of the largest slaughterhouses in the United States, as well as at least one in Canada.
JBS has suspended its own IT systems in Australia and North America, according to Bloomberg, though the company’s backup servers appear to be unaffected. Supply disruptions are unavoidable when computer systems and physical plants are shut down.
Earlier today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the attack was carried out by “a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” JBS has yet to reveal whether the attack was carried out with ransomware, but the widespread shutdowns are consistent with the effects of a ransomware attack.
Following the attack on the Colonial Pipeline last month, this is yet another high-profile piece of infrastructure targeted by Russian hacking groups. JBS is not based in the United States, but due to its disproportionate role in meat supply, the attack has the potential to disrupt global beef and pork availability if not resolved quickly.
As a result, the White House has offered its support to the company and is “engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter, and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals,” according to Jean-Pierre.