World’s biggest meat supplier, JBS, suffers cyber attack

Feels likely that hackers served up some ransomware.

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

World's biggest meat supplier, JBS, suffers cyber attack

The world’s largest meat supplier, JBS, says that it has suffered a cyber attack against its IT systems in North America and Australia impacting its ability to “process” thousands of cattle, sheep, and pigs.

The security incident, first spotted on Sunday, has not been officially confirmed to a be a ransomware attack – but I think anyone hearing the news would not be surprised if a ransomware gang was to blame.

According to the Financial Times “up to 7,000 workers” have been stood down in Australia by the company as it is currently unable to operate its abattoirs.

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An emailed statement from JBS USA confirmed the security breach, but says it has not presently uncovered any evidence that malicious hackers have stolen data:

JBS USA Cybersecurity Attack

On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organised 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.

Of course, it can be difficult for companies to confirm whether data has been stolen. It’s not like stealing a cow, where one day Mavis is stood in a field munching away at the grass and the next she’s gone.

There are also not, at this stage, any details to share of how the cybercriminals might have managed to compromise JBS’s IT systems. Could it be their passwords were not stroganoff?

(Sorry, I’m so sorry.)

Beef prices are currently rocketing as a result of stronger-than-normal seasonal demand.

If, as is unfortunately the case with many other ransomware victims, JBS finds itself unable to recover from the attack in a timely fashion, the impact on food production could be felt in the pocket.

Update:

Here is an email that JBS’s General Counsel sent the FBI in the wake of the ransomware attack.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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