Posted on June 1, 2021 at 6:33 PM
US-based food processing company JBS USA has become the latest victim of a cyberattack, which affected both its Australian and North American systems.
The firm confirmed this attack on Monday, stating that the job was executed by an organized cyber syndicate.
However, upon the discovery of the attack, the firm said it acted immediately by informing authorities and suspending all affected systems to curtail the extent of the damage.
Canadian facility also affected
JBS USA has also activated third-party IT experts and its network of global IT expert professionals to find a lasting solution to the incident.
JBS USA is the subsidiary of Brazil’s JBS SA, which is the largest pork and beef processing company in the world.
The firm did not state how the impact has affected production on its facilities, particularly its meat production plants.
However, it seems that the hacking incident impacted the processing of its meatpacking plant in Canada, according to reports.
The plant is located in Brooks and accounts for 25% of the country’s beef production capacity. The facility processes about 4,200 head of cattle a day, according to a recent job ad.
It was also reported that the incidence affected the sheep and cattle slaughtering facility in Australia.
A growing concern of cyberattacks
The latest development has added to a long list of U.S.-based companies that have been targeted lately. This is coming following the attack on Colonial Pipeline, which triggered panic-buying of gasoline at pumps. This subsequently resulted in gas shortages.
The aftermath of the attack saw the company paying a ransom of $4.4 million worth of Bitcoin to DarkSide, the Russian-based hacking syndicate responsible for the assault.
JBS USA says backup servers were not affected
In the latest attack on JBS, the company noted that its backup servers were safe and not impacted. The firm explained that it was collaborating with an incident response firm to get its systems up and running “as soon as possible.”
The top meat supplier also said there is no evidence that any employee, supplier, or customer data has been misused or compromised because of the attack.
It, however, added that resuming certain transactions with customers will take some time as the response team is still working to make the system safe.
“Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers,” the firm said.
DHB issues update on the attack
In another development, the Waikato District Health Board (DHB), which was recently hit with a ransomware attack, has provided more details about the incident.
The organization said it has made frantic efforts to restore its systems and resume full operations shortly.
It added that clinical services across all hospitals and departments operated quite smoothly over the weekend. However, it pointed out that the emergency departments at DHB hospitals in Thames, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, and Tokoroa are presently used for emergencies.
Hackers turn attention to the Commodities industry
Over the years, threat actors have limited their hacking activities to financial firms, health organizations, and the government. However, it appears they are now combing several other industries to perpetuate their heinous act.
They have now arrived at the commodities industry at a time when the global meat industry is bedeviled by the COVID-19 absenteeism. This is coming after the industry’s recovery from the mass outbreaks that led plants to shut down and disrupted supplies.
However, the company stated that the packaging facility in Ontario was not affected. The facility prepares salmon, pork, and beef for grocery stores. It said the facility, which has 3,000 workers, is operating normally.
JBS operates meat processing facilities in 20 countries, with New Zealand and Australia accounting for about 4% of its entire revenue. But the Canadian facilities generate 3%, while the U.S. generates 50% of its revenue, according to the company’s fillings.
The firm also has an operational presence in Europe and South America.