Ransomware infection disrupts operations at the world’s largest meat-selling company

Cybersecurity specialists reported a massive attack targeting JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, which forced the shutdown of all of its U.S. meat processor plants. Due to its characteristics, researchers think this could be a global supply chain attack.

While the company did not immediately respond to requests for information, its executives did confirm that they had contacted the U.S. government. Soon after, JBS processing plants in countries such as Australia and Canada also ceased operations.

It is not known exactly what the final impact of the attack is, although it has been confirmed that it is a ransomware infection. Cybersecurity specialists believe that reports on the consequences of this incident will continue to appear over the coming weeks; these consequences can be seen in the price of pork, the price of which rose considerably.

This may be an indication that cybercriminal groups can undertake a massive campaign of cyberattacks against companies and basic service organizations. An example of this is the recent attack on Colonial Pipeline and the ongoing attacks on health care companies, especially during the most critical point of the fight against the coronavirus.

After receiving the JBS report, the White House offered assistance in investigating the incident, although JBS is believed to be already collaborating with a prestigious cybersecurity firm to address the consequences of this attack.

A revealing fact about these attacks and the immediate future in cybersecurity was shared by the analysis firm Recorded Future, whose researchers estimate that over the past year there have been nearly 50 ransomware attacks targeting food producing companies, which are highly affected by disruptions in their operations due to the nature of the products they offer.

As mentioned above, distributors and end consumers are already experiencing the economic consequences of this incident with the increase in meat prices. American Farm Bureau Federation representative Michael Nepveux mentions: “At the moment it is impossible to determine how long it will take to resume regular meat prices; this can only be known when JBS resumes its regular operations.”

On how the company will approach this attack, an internal informant claims that JBS’ backup systems are intact, so the company could regain access to the compromised systems without having to negotiate with hackers, although it is not known how long it will take to reset the compromised information.

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