JBS ‘Fully Operational’ After Ransomware Attack, Any Lost Meat Production to Be Recovered Within a Week

June 4, 2021 Updated: June 4, 2021

Meat-producing giant JBS announced Thursday that it has resumed normal operations at all of its global facilities following a production-crippling ransomware attack, adding that it expects any lost meat production to be “fully recovered by the end of next week.”

In a Thursday statement, JBS said all its plants are now fully operational, crediting a “swift response, robust IT systems and encrypted backup servers” for resolving Sunday’s “criminal cyberattack.”

“The criminals were never able to access our core systems, which greatly reduced potential impact,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA. “Today, we are fortunate that all of our facilities around the globe are operating at normal capacity, and we are focused on fulfilling our responsibility to produce safe, high-quality food.”

White House Deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on June 1 that the administration believes the ransomware attack on JBS is likely linked to a Russia-based criminal organization.

JBS said in the statement that any lost production would be fully recovered by the end of next week, “limiting any potential negative impact on producers, consumers and the company’s workforce.”

In a Thursday statement cited by The Hill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that the cyberattack was unlikely to cause major disruptions.

“Our daily market data shows a strong rebound in cattle and hog slaughter, which we expect to continue through the week, while poultry numbers are higher this week than last. All in all, the market is moving toward normalization and, if the situation continues to resolve quickly, we don’t expect this incident to have lasting effects on wholesale and retail prices,” the USDA said.

The USDA added that the ransomware incident underscores the vulnerabilities of a “consolidated” food supply system, while urging investment to shore up resiliency to cyber-attacks and make the food system more distributed.

It comes as the White House warned business leaders in a June 3 letter about the growing risk of ransomware attacks, urging them to beef up their digital security measures.

“The threats are serious and they are increasing,” Anne Neuberger, cybersecurity adviser at the National Security Council, said in the letter obtained by media outlets.

“All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location. Much as our homes have locks and alarm systems and our office buildings have guards and security to meet the threat of theft, we urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat.”

Neuberger’s advice to companies includes urging them to store data backups offline, make sure systems are promptly updated and patched, bolster security teams, and strengthen firewalls between operational networks and the internet.

The White House warning comes after a number of recent high-profile cyberattacks, including one targeting Colonial Pipeline last month, leading to a disruptive shutdown and gasoline shortages.

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