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Illustration by Security Management

Meat Processing Plants Regroup After Cyberattack

The majority of JBS plants are expected back online today after a major cyberattack disrupted one of the world’s largest meat processing companies, with ramifications felt from North America to Australia.

Brazil-based JBS SA said Sunday that it had been the target of an “organized cybersecurity attack” that targeted the firm’s IT systems in North America and Australia, CyberScoop reported. The nature of the attack is still unclear, but JBS notified the White House and other authorities about the attack and subsequent ransom demand.

According to Karine Jean-Pierre, U.S. principal deputy press secretary, “JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization, likely based in Russia. The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter, and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals.” The FBI is investigating the incident, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is offering technical support to JBS, the Associated Press reported.

The attack shuttered most of the company’s networked activity on Monday, and it forced the closure of a beef plant outside Calgary, Alberta. Shifts were cancelled in plants in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

“The company took immediate action, suspending all affected systems, notifying authorities, and activating the company’s global network of IT professionals and third party experts to resolve the situation,” JBS said in a statement. “The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an incident response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible.”

It is unknown if the company paid any ransom, but JBS said it is not aware of any customer, supplier, or employee data being compromised in the attack.