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World’s largest meat supplier grinds to a halt after cyberattack

World’s largest meat supplier grinds to a halt after cyberattack


The White House believes the attack originated from a criminal organization in Russia

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

JBS, a Brazilian company which supplies a fifth of the world’s meat, was the victim of a coordinated cyberattack, Bloomberg reports.

Details are still emerging about the extent and severity of the attack — which became apparent to JBS on May 30th, and was disclosed to staff in a memo on the 31st — but it has caused some of the largest slaughterhouses in the US to shut down already, and at least one in Canada. According to Bloomberg, JBS has suspended its own IT systems in Australia and North America, though the company’s backup servers appear to be unaffected. Naturally, the shutdowns of computer systems and physical plants are likely to cause supply delays.

In a press conference earlier today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described the attack as coming “from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.” JBS has yet to disclose whether the attack involved ransomware, although the broad shutdowns are consistent with the effects of a ransomware attack.

This marks yet another high-profile piece of infrastructure targeted by Russian hacking groups, following the attack on Colonial Pipeline last month. JBS is not based in the US, but because of its outsized role in meat supply, the attack has the potential to disrupt global availability of beef and pork if not resolved quickly. As such, the White House has offered support to the company and “is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter, and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.