World’s Biggest Meat Processor JBS Shuts All US Beef Plants After Ransomware Attack

JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, shuttered all of its beef plants in the United States on Tuesday after a ransomware attack, The New York Times reports.

The ransomware attack forced a shut down of the company’s nine beef plants and disrupted production at its poultry and pork plants, raising concerns about meat shortages and price increases.

The company said most of its plants would reopen on Wednesday but even one day of disruption could “significantly impact” beef prices, according to the report.

JBS, a Brazilian-based company that accounts for one-fifth of all beef in the US, said it has made “significant progress resolving the cyberattack.”

“Our systems are coming back online, and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” Andre Nogueira, the head of JBS USA, said in the statement.

Ransomware attacks increase:

The attack comes just weeks after a different ransomware attack forced Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel provider in the eastern part of the United States, to shut down its operations for days.

JBS said that it was the target of an “organized cybersecurity attack” that has also affected its systems in Australia. It said that its backup server was not affected and that no data was exposed.

The White House described it as a ransomware attack by “a criminal organization likely based in Russia.”

The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are investigating the attack.

“The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” said deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Higher beef prices?:

The company’s shutdown in the US also extended to Canada, where 2,500 had shifts canceled on Tuesday.

At least one beef plant in the US was delayed in getting back up on Wednesday and another altered its shifts.

The shutdown comes amid an “extremely tight” beef wholesale market, according to analysts at the Daily Livestock Report.

“Retailers and beef processors are coming from a long weekend and need to catch up with orders and make sure to fill the meat case,” the analysts wrote. “If they suddenly get a call saying that product may not deliver tomorrow or this week, it will create very significant challenges in keeping plants in operation and the retail case stocked up.”


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