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Cyber-attack cripples JBS, world’s largest meat supplier

Thousands of workers at JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, have been affected after a cyber-attack forced operations in Canada, Australia, and the US to shut down temporarily.

According to the BBC this could lead to shortages or an increase in prices of meat.

The White House stated that this attack likely came from a criminal group based in Russia, and the FBI confirmed this to be the work of the REvil (or Sodinokibi) hacking group.

In a ransomware attack, hackers gain access to a computer network and threaten to disrupt or delete files unless a ransom is paid.

“JBS notified [the White House] that the ransom demand came from a criminal organisation likely based in Russia,”

“The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals,”

Karine Jean-Pierre – Spokeswoman, The White House

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke to local media regarding the issue, stating the Biden administration had contacted Moscow to discuss the ransomware attack.

JBS said that they had suspended all affected IT systems as soon as the attack was detected, however they have already paid a £3.1 million ransom to the cybercriminal group.

In modern meat processing plants, IT systems are essential, with computers and automation used heavily throughout many stages including billing and shipping.

According to the trade group Beef Central, “supermarkets and other large end-users like the McDonald’s burger patty supply network will be some of the most immediately impacted customers, due to their need for consistent supply”.

Thankfully, JBS’s backup servers were not affected, and the company has since restored their IT systems.

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