The White House said on Tuesday that Brazil’s JBS SA told the US government that the company’s ransomware attack disrupted meat production in North America and Australia and that the attack originated from a criminal organization that may be based in Russia.

JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, said on Tuesday night that it “has made significant progress in addressing cyber attacks.” According to a statement, the company’s “most” beef, pork, poultry and prepared food plants will begin operations on Wednesday, alleviating concerns about rising food prices.

Last month, a Russian-linked organization launched a cyber attack on the United States’ largest fuel pipeline colonial pipeline, which interrupted fuel delivery to the southeastern United States for several days.

According to union officials, JBS stopped cattle slaughter at all of its US factories on Tuesday. On Monday, the attack caused the closure of Australian operations.

JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira (Andre Nogueira) said: “Our system is back online, we will not waste any resources to fight this threat.”

JBS’ North American operations are headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, and control approximately 20% of the cattle and pig slaughter capacity in the United States.

White House spokesperson Karin Jean-Pierre said that the United States has contacted the Russian government and the FBI is investigating.

“The White House is in direct contact with the Russian government on this matter and is sending a message that responsible countries do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Jean-Pierre said.

JBS sells beef and pork under the Swift brand, and retailers such as Costco Wholesale sell pork tenderloin and tenderloin. JBS also owns the majority of shares in Pilgrim’s Pride, a chicken processor that sells organic chicken under the Just Bare brand.

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The continued closure of the JBS plant may further increase meat prices for American consumers during the summer barbecue season and disrupt meat exports when Chinese demand is strong.

John Hultquist, a threat researcher at security company FireEye, said: “The supply chains, logistics, and transportation that keep our society functioning are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Attacks on choke points can have a huge impact and encourage hasty payments.”

Industry analysts said the interruption soon had an impact on Tuesday. According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of cattle slaughtered by U.S. meat processors is 22% less than a week ago and 18% less than a year ago. Pork processing has also declined.

The USDA stated that the prices of selected and selected American beef delivered in large boxes to wholesale buyers have both increased by more than 1%.

According to a statement, the USDA contacted several major meat processors to encourage them to keep the supply flowing and slaughter more livestock if possible. The agency also urges meat processors to increase the durability of their IT and supply chain infrastructure.

A White House official said that federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security, are closely monitoring meat and poultry supplies. The official said that these agencies also cooperate with agricultural processors to ensure that there is no price manipulation due to cyber attacks.

Affected system is suspended

JBS stated that it suspended all affected systems and notified the authorities, and the backup server was not affected. A representative from Sao Paulo stated that this has no impact on Brazilian business.

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The company stated that Sunday’s cyber attack affected its IT systems in North America and Australia, “it will take time to resolve the incident, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”

As China increases imports, animal feed costs rise, and slaughterhouses face a shortage of workers, US beef and pork prices have risen. Analysts said that any further impact on consumers will depend on the timing of the closure of the JBS plant.

JBS Beef of Cactus, Texas, said on Facebook that there will be no manufacturing, slaughtering, or refining in a single shift on Wednesday. Another shift will provide employees with a fixed start time.

A representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union District 7 said in an email that after the cyber attack, the morning shift was also cancelled at JBS’s beef factory in Greeley on Wednesday, but later shifts were scheduled to resume.

According to a Facebook post, a pork factory in Otumwa, Iowa will not “harvest production” in the first or second shift on Wednesday. The post stated that the company “is continuing to solve our IT problems.” “. According to the post, other aspects of the plant are operating.

JBS Canada said in a Facebook post that after canceling the shift earlier in the day and Monday, it conducted a shift at its beef factory in Brooks, Alberta on Tuesday.

This American Cattlemen’s AssociationThe beef industry organization said on Twitter that there were reports that JBS redirected livestock movers, who arrived at the factory with animals to be slaughtered.

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Last year, during the outbreak of the coronavirus among workers, cattle and pigs on American farms were euthanized when meat factories were closed, and some animals were euthanized.

In the past few years, ransomware has evolved into an urgent national security issue. Many gangs, many of which are Russian speakers, have developed software to encrypt files, and then ask for keys to be paid in encrypted currency so that the owner can decipher and use them again.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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