June 15, 2021

The food giant JBS victim of a major cyberattack

The American subsidiary of the Brazilian agribusiness giant JBS announced, Monday, May 31, that it had been the target of a major cyberattack. “JBS USA discovered that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting several of the servers on which its computer system is based in North America and Australia”, the company said in a press release, without specifying the nature of this intrusion detected on Sunday.

All affected systems were shut down and authorities seized, JBS USA said, adding that its back-up systems had not been affected by the incident. “At this stage, the company is not informed of any misuse of the data of its customers, suppliers or employees resulting from this situation”, added JBS USA, warning all the same that transactions with its customers and suppliers could be “Slowed down”. The servers providing the backups were not affected either, JBS USA said, without giving more details on the impact of this attack on its slaughterhouses and processing plants.

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Disrupted activities in Australia, the United States and Canada

In Australia, however, operations have been paralyzed and 10,000 workers sent home without pay, union official Matt Journeaux told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The management of the subsidiary does not yet know when activities can resume, he added. Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said in a statement he had been made aware of the attack, but declined to comment. “Until further details are available”.

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In the United States, some production lines were suspended Tuesday at at least two sites of the group in Iowa and a slaughterhouse was closed in Wisconsin, according to messages posted on their respective official page on Facebook. A plant in Utah was also shut down, according to an employee. Finally, in Canada, a slaughterhouse employing more than 3,300 people had to cancel three shifts on Monday and Tuesday, according to the site’s Facebook page. But production should resume “As planned by the calendar” Tuesday for one of the two teams, he added.

Russia still accused

The global meat giant warned U.S. officials on Tuesday that the ransom-demanded cyberattack came from an “Criminal organization probably based in Russia”, according to Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokesperson for the White House. “The White House is in direct contact with the Russian government on this issue and sends the message that States that show responsibility must not harbor ransomware authors”, a process that exploits security vulnerabilities to block computer systems and demand a ransom to unlock them, she also said.

Read also: What we know about ransomware perpetrators and gangs

A month ago, US authorities blamed the attack on Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined product pipeline in the United States, on DarkSide, a group of cybercriminals believed to be based in Russia, a charge. refuted by Moscow. Forced to close its operations, which led to panic among many motorists, the group admitted having had to pay a ransom of $ 4.4 million.

JBS, specializing in beef, chicken and pork products, is one of the largest food companies in the world. It is present in Brazil and other Latin American countries but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The World with AFP