Ransomware attack on the world’s largest meatpacking company JBS

By Cameron AbbottRob Pulham and Jacqueline Patishman

Last week, a ransomware attack on the world’s largest meatpacking company caused a temporary shut-down of its operations in Australia and North America. The attack infiltrated the company’s quality assurance systems and ultimately prevented normal production.

The Brazilian based company has been receiving support from both Australian and Canadian authorities as well as the FBI to investigate and address the incident. The ransomware demand was reportedly made by a cybercriminal group known as REvil based in Russia. REvil runs a site on the dark web known as ‘Happy Blog’ on which it posts stolen information of its victims who don’t comply with its ransom demands.

At this stage, JBS has reported that none of its supplier, employee or customer data has been compromised. This time, the attack hasn’t been significant enough to disrupt the meat supply in either jurisdiction as both jurisdictions meat industries had sufficient stockpiles to manage the disruption; however, these types of attacks have the potential to be highly disruptive.

It’s been reported that JBS released a statement that it had made significant progress in resolving the cyberattack and that the vast majority of the beef, pork, poultry and prepared food plants would be operational by 3 June. Reports indicate that JBS has likely chosen not to pay the ransom and is trying to resolve the impacts of the attack itself.

This incident is yet another hack on critical infrastructure which we have blogged on recently. Check out some of our others such as the hack on the American Colonial Pipeline Company; the attack on New York’s subway authority; or the attack on Oldsmar, Florida’s water treatment plant.

Attacks on these large critical infrastructure-type organisations have the potential to seriously affect the stability of various industries, the jobs they provide, the economy and safety of people around the world. It’s little wonder that governments are urging industry’s cooperation and upping the ante in response.

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