According to the White House, Russian criminals are likely behind the cyber attack on JBS Foods, the largest beef and pork processor in the world. The FBI has been called to investigate and JBS promises that the “vast majority” of its meat processing facilities in the United States will be operational by Wednesday.
JBS was hit with a cyber attack on it Sunday and is still embroiled in IT disruptions that have led operations at several JBS meat processing plants in North America and Australia to a standstill.
“The White House engages directly with the Russian government on this matter and conveys the message that the states responsible do not prosecute ransomware criminals,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
Details on the attack are still scarce, however Reuters and other media outlets have begun calling it a ransomware attack, although JBS has not released an official statement explaining whether a ransomware has been requested.
Ransomware attacks can most commonly take two forms: 1) Informed hackers steal vital data, delete any backup, and demand money for the data to be restored. 2) Hackers steal sensitive data and demand payment so that the data is not published publicly. Hackers usually demand payment by means of cryptocurrencies, which can be moved around to obscure the final recipient of the money.
JBS in the United States did not respond to a survey of any overnight IT developments, but gave an optimistic statement Tuesday, explaining that its operations in Brazil and the United Kingdom had not been affected. , and insisting that the company would be operating Wednesday in the United States
“Our systems are back online and we don’t save resources to fight this threat,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS in the United States. Tuesday.
“We have cybersecurity plans in place to address this type of problem and we have successfully implemented these plans,” Nogueira continued. “In view of the progress our IT professionals and plant teams have made in the last 24 hours, the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry and prepared food plants will be operational tomorrow.”
JBS manages about 20% of beef and pork production in America, leading to concerns about a potential price spike over the short term. If JBS is able to get the installations up and running again this week, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about on the part of the consumer. But if JBS is more incapable of what the company has left, it could be a sharp rise in costs during the barbecue season.
Meat prices in the United States were expected to rise this summer even before the cyber attack on JBS, as Associated Press indicates:
Even before the attack, U.S. meat prices were rising due to coronavirus arrests, bad weather and high plant absenteeism. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it expects beef prices to drop from 1% to 2% this year, poultry up to 1.5% and pork between 2% and 3%.
The USDA released a statement Tuesday saying the agency was working with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and JBS Foods to help mitigate any supply problems that could lead to rising prices for U.S. consumers.
“As part of this effort, USDA has approached several major meat processors in the United States to ensure that they are aware of the situation, encouraging them to accommodate additional capacity where possible, and emphasizing the importance of maintaining the ‘offer on the go,’ USDA said in a press release.
JBS acknowledged that it was in constant contact with the American, Canadian and Australian governments during this ordeal.
“I would like to personally thank the White House, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Australian and Canadian governments for their assistance over the past two days,” he said. CEO of JBS, Nogueira.