Major Meat Processor Suffers Cyberattack

One of the world’s largest meat processors has become the latest victim of a cyberattack. JBS USA released a statement on May 30, indicating that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.

According to the statement, 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 weren’t affected, and it’s actively working with an unidentified incident response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible.

The attack did cause its Australian operations to shut down on May 31. 

JBS wasn’t aware of any evidence that customer, supplier or employee data had been compromised or misused as a result of the cyberattack. It did acknowledge that resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.

This security breach follows the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack in the United States in early May that led to panic buying of gas in the Southeast and subsequent gas shortages. How consumers might be affected by the JBS cyberattack – price increases and/or meat shortages at the grocery store – is not immediately known.

As reported by USA Today, former senior Department of Homeland Security official Paul Rosenzweig said that the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, and the ransom paid by the company, has clearly emboldened non-state actors to strike at potentially bigger and more financially vulnerable targets, including JBS.

These back-to-back cyberattacks “[show] that nothing is safe” in our digital word, according to Rosenzweig. “Not the meatpacking industry, not the chemical industry, not the wastewater treatment industry, not Sony. Nothing.”

Based in Greeley, Colo., JBS Foods USA provides more than 206 million 4-ounce servings of protein to families in more than 100 countries around the world every day, and is one of the top beef producers in the United States. Its brands include Pilgrim’s, Great Southern and Aberdeen Black.