Americans may be asking where’s the beef? as cybercriminals have struck again, this time targeting JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer. According to a report from Bloomberg, the U.S. could have a beefy problem on its hands:
A cyberattack on JBS SA, the largest meat producer globally, forced the shutdown of all its U.S. beef plants, wiping out output from facilities that supply almost a quarter of American supplies.
The Daily Mail reported on JBS’ official response to the attack:
JBS said in a statement that the ‘organized cybersecurity attack’ was detected on Sunday, ‘affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.’
JBS suspended its North American and Australian computer systems on Sunday after an organized assault on some of its servers, the company said in a Monday statement. Without commenting on plant operations, JBS said the incident may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.
JBS’s five biggest beef plants in the U.S. — which altogether handle 22,500 cattle a day — halted processing following a weekend attack on the Brazilian company’s computer networks, according to JBS posts on Facebook, labor unions and employees. Those outages wiped out nearly a fifth of America’s production. Slaughter operations across Australia were also down, according to a trade group, and one of Canada’s largest beef plants was idled.
This comes following the recent cyber-attack on Colonial Pipeline that led to gas shortages in part of the United States and a spike in gasoline prices. While the immediate ramifications of the attacks on JBS SA is unknown, it has once again exposed the world’s vulnerability to cyber-criminals and cyber-terrorists. Whether it is ransomware or a rogue state deciding to take out an electrical grid, the problem needs to be addressed immediately.
Unfortunately, experts in cyber-security have been discussing these possibilities for decades but like most problems, the public and private sector are reactive rather than proactive.
Equally disturbing is the fact that the majority of the United States’ meat production is controlled by four major companies. Unless Americans want to enjoy the not-so-delicious taste of the Impossible Whopper, the problem needs to be addressed soon.