JBS begins to reopen meat factory closed due to cyber attack | Cybercrime News

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After cyber attacks forced the world’s largest meat producer to cease operations, JBS SA began at least partially reopening most of its idle beef factories in North America and Australia.

The Brazilian food giant said on Tuesday night that it had made “significant progress” in resolving the attack and would put “the vast majority” of its factories into operation by Wednesday. Facebook’s post stated that its Greeley, Colorado plant is one of the largest beef plants in the United States, and its second shift is scheduled for normal production days, while the plants in Texas, Nebraska and Wisconsin Some operations are being resumed.

Union leaders said that by Thursday, a factory in Omaha will resume work and a factory in Pennsylvania will return to normal. JBS said its Canadian beef plant in Alberta has resumed production, which is one of the largest plants in the country. A spokesperson for the Australasia Meat Industry Employees Union in Tasmania said workers at the Longford beef processing plant in Australia were told that operations would resume on Friday.

The world’s largest meat processor says it will open “the vast majority” of its factories on Wednesday [File: Bing Guan/Reuters]

Sunday’s cyber attack forced JBS to shut down all its beef plants in the United States—almost a quarter of U.S. supply—and slowed the production of pork and poultry. Slaughter operations across Australia ceased, and at least one Canadian factory was idle. JBS has factories in 20 countries and also owns Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second largest chicken producer in the United States. Since JBS did not specify the impact, the extent of the disruption may never be known.

As hackers increasingly targeted critical infrastructure, the attack and subsequent shutdowns disrupted the agricultural market and raised concerns about food security.

Chicago’s live cattle futures fell 3.4% from Friday’s closing price, hit a nearly five-month low on Tuesday, and rebounded as much as 2.5% on Wednesday. Chicago’s pork cut volume fell 0.6%, narrowing the increase since Friday to 2.9%.

JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira (Andre Nogueira) said in a statement on Tuesday: “Our system is going back online, and we will not waste any resources to counter this threat.”

Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday that it does not expect the cyber attack to have any direct impact on JBS’s credit rating, and believes that the impact of this attack on future negative ratings is “extremely unlikely, provided that the company can resume normal operations in the short term.”

JBS shares fell 1.1% in Sao Paulo trading, lagging behind the 1% gain of Brazil’s Ibovespa benchmark index.

It is not clear what impact the recent attacks will have on meat prices. Michael Nepveux, an economist with the U.S. Agricultural Bureau Federation, said that retailers do not always like to raise prices for consumers and may try to resist. He said in a telephone interview: “How long it lasts will affect the extent to which consumers start to see things in the grocery store.”

Food buyers worry that the interference of JBS has posed a challenge to the meat industry when prices are already high.

“This will only add fuel to the fire,” said Anne Hurtado, a Chicago buyer at Amigos Meat & Poultry, who is worried that her JBS orders this week will not be shipped on time. “In the past month, we have seen a lot of inflation in the meat industry. Demand has been high and exports have been high.”

Kevin Lindgren, director of sales at Baldor Specialty Foods, said wholesale beef prices in the New York meat market were up 2% from Friday.

“There is nothing crazy yet,” Lindgren said, but he expects prices to rise by 10% within a week. “As austerity comes, it will get higher and higher.”

The JBS attack brought the American system of cheap meat production back into the focus of attention.

The industry is dominated by a few giants—Tyson Foods, JBS, and Cargill—which control about two-thirds of the beef in the United States. Even closing a few factories can disrupt supply, as seen when the Covid-19 outbreak last year left factories idle and triggered a national meat shortage. The industry is so concentrated that the idleness of the JBS plant meant that the US government was unable to release on Tuesday some key meat pricing data that the agricultural product market relies on every day.

“Attacks like this highlight the vulnerability of our country’s food supply chain. They emphasize the importance of diversifying the nation’s meat processing capabilities,” said US Senator John Thun from South Dakota, who is second in the Senate. The most powerful Republican.

The JBS attack occurred three weeks after Colonial Pipeline Co., the largest gasoline pipeline operator in the United States, became the target of a ransomware attack launched by an organization called DarkSide. Experts said that there is some evidence that the organization is related to Russia. Prior to this, U.S. government agencies, businesses, and medical institutions had suffered a series of devastating hacking attacks. When relations between the two countries were tense, these attacks were usually attributed to Russian or Russian hackers.

According to four people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, behind the JBS attack was a notorious Russian hacker organization. The name of the network gang is REvil or Sodinokibi.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia has no information about cyber attacks, but is in diplomatic contact with the US government. He said that at the summit between President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on June 16, the issue of cybercrime will be on the agenda.

Allan Liska, senior security architect at network security analysis company Recorded Future, said that since May 2020, more than 40 ransomware attacks against food companies have been publicly reported.

Rep. Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas, told David Westin in an interview with Bloomberg Television: “It is frightening to see the number of critical hackers and cyberattacks entering the United States and critical infrastructure,” he said. He added that companies and governments need to work together to resist such attacks. “We must carefully consider the entire supply chain for each key part of our economy and determine where these network weaknesses may be.”



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