Russian cyber criminals blamed for JBS crisis


Jon Condon, BEEF Central (AU)



RUSSIAN cyber criminals seeking ransoms are being blamed for global meat processor, JBS’s cyber attack, which has paralysed the company’s processing and distribution operations across North America and Australia.


As the US industry returned to work overnight (Australian time) after Monday’s Memorial Day public holiday, the full extent of the security breach is now being felt in JBS’s North American operations.


Beef Central first broke the news about JBS’s cyber attack crisis in this story on Monday morning.


Virtually every part of its processing operations from livestock procurement to export beef dispatch and shipment are heavily reliant on IT connectivity in order to function. JBS Australia chief executive Brent Eastwood on Monday morning told Beef Central he did not know how long the stoppage would last.


The New York Times reported overnight that all of JBS’s US beef plants and many of its pork and chicken plants were shuttered on Tuesday – the first day back at work after North America’s Monday’s Memorial Day public holiday.


Across the Pacific, all Australian beef and lamb plants remained closed for a third day today, with the exception of some boning operations clearing carcases that were killed and chilled on Friday (before the cyber attack occurred), in readiness for boning on Monday morning, Beef Central has been told.


As a result, JBS Australia has withdrawn from cattle procurement via saleyards and direct consignment this week, as the predicament drags on. Thousands of meatworkers have since been put out of work.


The closures are already having an impact on domestic supply arrangements, with Coles Supermarkets (which gets large beef kills done at JBS Brooklyn and Scone) talking to other processors about temporary supply arrangements, should JBS’s closure be prolonged.


Rumours of a ransom being asked by the hackers to restore system access have circulated around the Australian industry since the story surfaced on Monday, and JBS has now confirmed that as being true.


JBS’s US Beef division (which includes operations in Australia) issued a second statement overnight, which provided some cause for optimism over how long the crisis may take to resolve. However it is difficult to distinguish whether some of the comments it contains relate specifically to operations in the US, or also those in Australia: …


FBI investigation ...


Attack follows recent trend ...


Ransomware one of many cybersecurity threats ...


Federal Govt lends support ...