Employees at JBS units in the United States are expected to return to work on Wednesday, a day after the company’s beef operations were halted due to a “ramsonware” attack.
A famous hacker group linked to Russia is behind the attack on JBS, which disrupted meat production in North America and Australia, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The Brazilian JBS controls about 20% of the cattle and pork slaughter capacity in the USA. Thus, reopening factories should avoid a more serious disruption to the domestic supply chain, at a time when consumers are already facing soaring meat prices and spreading food inflation.
JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, said Tuesday night that it had made great strides in resolving the cyber attack.
The vast majority of the company’s beef, pork, chicken and processed food units will begin operations on Wednesday, according to a statement.
The cyber attack on JBS came weeks after a group with ties to Russia carried out a similar attack on Colonial Pipeline, the largest US pipeline network, affecting fuel distribution for several days in the southeastern US.
This is the third major attack linked to Russia this year. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the GPS attack is expected to be discussed at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-June.
“We are not ruling out any options in terms of how to respond, but of course there is an internal policy review process to look into that. We are also in direct contact with the Russians to convey our concerns about these reports,” Psaki said.
“President (Joe) Biden certainly believes that President Putin and the Russian government have a role to play in stopping and preventing these attacks,” she added.
The source stated that the Russian group responsible for the attack bears the name Revel.
Cybersecurity investigators previously reported that they believe some members of REvil’s “Ramsonware” team are in Russia.
The group, which is notably known for attacking an Apple supplier called Quanta Computer this year, has previously published in Russian on cybercrime forums, exposing stolen data.
In the case of Quanta Computer, the hackers sent threats of extortion and demanded $50 million in payment so that the company could regain access to its systems.
JBS, whose North American operations are headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, sells beef and pork under the Swift brand, using retail chains such as Costco.
US beef and pork prices have already been on the rise, due to an increase in imports from China, rising animal feed costs and a labor shortage in slaughterhouses since the Covid-19 outbreak has closed many units in the US. country.
JBS also controls chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride, which sells organic chicken under the Just Bare brand.
JBS said the company’s operations in Brazil, Mexico and the United Kingdom were not affected by the attack.
JBS canceled its first shift at its Greeley plant on Wednesday, but the next shift is scheduled to run normally, union representatives United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 said via email.
The JBS unit in Grand Island, Nebraska, has already warned employees via Facebook that it will resume its normal schedule in all departments.
Bovine futures traded on the Chicago Stock Exchange rose on Wednesday, after falling the previous day, as the closing of JBS plants prevented producers from delivering animals for slaughter.
Ransomware has, in recent years, become a pressing national security issue. Various criminal groups, many of which communicate in Russian, are developing software that encrypts files and then demands payments in cryptocurrencies in exchange for keys that allow owners to decrypt them and use the systems again.
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