ALL NEWS

Ransomeware attack hits largest meat processing company, disrupts global production

Jun 1, 2021, 2:42 PM | Updated: 2:47 pm
Ransomeware meat company...
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2020 file photo, a worker heads into the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo. A weekend ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat company is disrupting production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil pipeline. The White House confirms that Brazil-based meat processor JBS SA notified the U.S. government Sunday, May 30, 2021, of a ransom demand from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company is disrupting production around the world just weeks after a similar incident shut down a U.S. oil pipeline.

JBS SA of Brazil notified the U.S. of a ransom demand from a criminal organization likely based in Russia, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Tuesday. She said the White House and the Department of Agriculture have been in touch with the company several times this week.

JBS has extensive facilities in the U.S., including processing plants in Utah, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Texas and Colorado. Two shifts were canceled Tuesday at JBS’ meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado, according to UFCW Local 7, which represents 3,000 workers at the plant.

The local union also has reports from workers that production was down on Monday but that is unconfirmed, according to spokesman Dakar Lanzino. Union representatives were meeting attempting to get more information from the company, Lanzino said.

JBS has not stated publicly that the attack was ransomware.

Jean-Pierre said 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.” The FBI is investigating the incident, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is offering technical support to JBS.

In addition, USDA has spoken to several major meat processors in the U.S. to alert them to the situation, and the White House is assessing any potential impact on the nation’s meat supply.

In a statement Sunday, JBS said the cyberattack affected servers supporting its operations in North America and Australia. The company said it notified authorities and engaged third-party experts to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Backup servers weren’t affected.

Thousands of Australian meat plant workers had no work for a second day Tuesday, and a government minister said it might be days before production resumes. JBS is Australia’s largest meat and food processing company, with 47 facilities across the country including abattoirs, feedlots and meat processing sites.

JBS employs more than 66,000 people at 84 locations in the U.S. It has around 11,000 employees in Australia.

It’s not the first time a ransomware attack has targeted a food company. Last November, Milan-based Campari Group said it was the victim of a ransomware attack that caused a temporary technology outage and compromised some business and personal data.

In March, Molson Coors announced a cyber attack that affected its production and shipping.

Ransomware expert Brett Callow, a threat analyst at the security firm Emsisoft, said companies like JBS make ideal targets.

“They play a critical role in the food supply chain and threat actors likely believe this increases their chances of getting a speedy payout,” Callow said.

Last month, a gang of hackers shut down operation of the Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, for nearly a week. The closure sparked long lines and panic buying at gas stations across the Southeast. Colonial Pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4 million to the hackers.

Jason Crabtree, the co-founder of QOMPLX, a Virginia-based artificial intelligence and machine learning company, said Marriott, FedEx and others have also been targeted by ransomware attacks. He said companies need to do a better job of rapidly detecting bad actors in their systems.

“A lot of organizations aren’t able to find and fix different vulnerabilities faster than the adversaries that they’re fighting,”‘ Crabtree said.

Crabtree said the government also plays a critical role, and said President Biden’s recent executive order on cybersecurity — which requires all federal agencies to use basic security measures, like multi-factor authentication — is a good start.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

crowded zion national park...
Mark Jones

Seasonal shuttle service, camping availability announced at Zion

Fall shuttle service into Zion National Park ended Sunday. It will resume for 10 days beginning on Dec. 23 and running through Jan. 1, 2023.
22 hours ago
Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

Church announces locations for six previously announced temples

Locations for six previously announced temples were announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
22 hours ago
vail resorts...
Elizabeth Weiler

Vail Resorts facing million dollar lawsuit after a Utah bowling alley incident

PARK CITY, Utah — After a bowling incident during a company party, a jury is ordering Vail Resorts’ Mountain activities to pay over $2 million for a personal injury that caused extensive surgeries.  In April, according to a case overview, Jupiter Bowl hosted a team party for Vail employees. During the party, Vail Resorts’ employees […]
22 hours ago
Utah Naloxone...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Naloxone and law enforcement reach milestone in preventing overdose deaths

Utah Naloxone reports over 600 lives in Utah have been saved thanks to law enforcement's use of naloxone (Narcan®).
22 hours ago
Photo of a Utah highway petrol vehicle...
Mark Jones

More than 1,500 motorists stopped for speeding over Thanksgiving weekend

The Utah Highway Patrol says more than 1,500 motorists were pulled over for speeding during the Thanksgiving weekend.
22 hours ago
Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...
Simone Seikaly

Citing rising RSV cases, Primary Children’s delaying some surgeries

Primary Children's is delaying pre-scheduled and non-emergency procedures that would require an inpatient stay.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Ransomeware attack hits largest meat processing company, disrupts global production