JBS Foods, the world’s largest processor of beef and poultry products, reportedly suffered a massive cyber attack that disrupted production operations in the United States, Australia, the UK, Canada, and several other countries.
According to Beef Central which first broke the news, the operational impact of the cyber attack was so catastrophic that the company cancelled Monday’s entire beef and lamb kills in Australia and meat processing operations in the United States, the UK, Canada, and South America are also expected to be severely disrupted.
Even though the company is yet to issue a statement in this regard, its CEO Brent Eastwood confirmed the incident to Beef Central, stating that he could not say how long the stoppage would last in Australia. The company is in the process of assessing the impact of the cyber attack and has informed Australian authorities about the incident.
Founded in 1953 and headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, JBS Foods is the world’s largest meat processing company in the world, selling processed beef, chicken, pork, and their by-products worldwide. The company owns around 150 industrial plants around the world and recorded a revenue of $51.2 billion in 2017.
According to ABC News, the Australian government is working with JBS Foods to investigate the cyber attack. “We’re obviously working with law enforcement here in Australia and we’re also working with our international partners. It’s under investigation and it’s important that we respect that process,” Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told ABC News.
“The technology that [JBS] use, the systems they use, go to the heart of the quality assurance of the beef that they process. So we need to make sure that we can get that up and going to give confidence, not just to consumers here in Australia, but also to our export markets,” he added.
“This latest hack comes less than a month after the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack and further demonstrates how vulnerable major industry infrastructure is to disruption. The cyber-attack targeted a US company, but its repercussions are being felt worldwide. It’s clear that cybercriminals are going to continue to target critical infrastructure for maximum impact,” says Rashid Ali, enterprise solutions manager at Wallix.
“So, with sophisticated cyber-attacks increasing by the day, organisations must act fast to safeguard vulnerable infrastructure and valuable data. While implementing the first line of defence is a must, this alone is not enough. Organisations need to be prepared and have a comprehensive cyber strategy in place that can secure against remote access, implement zero-trust policies and safeguard value data – so that if all else fails, the impact and reach of the hack is limited.”
UPDATE: JBS Foods has issued a statement to explain the impact of the cyber attack targeting its IT systems in North America and Australia. Here’s the company’s official statement:
“On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems. 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. 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.
“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation. Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”