JBS USA is recovering from a cyberattack that shut down production at its beef processing facilities in six states, as well as plants in Australia and Canada.
The attack, revealed June 1, interrupted production at plants that process a quarter of the beef and a fifth of the pork in this country. Poultry plants belonging to the Pilgrim’s Pride unit of JBS also were affected. JBS says most of the affected plants will be back online by the end of June 2.
Wholesale meat prices rose as a result of the incident, with the price of prime boxed beef rising 1.6% by the morning of June 2. Cattle and hog slaughter were down 13% and 9%, respectively, as of June 2 from the previous week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The incident is believed to be a ransomware attack that originated in Russia. The White House said June 2 that President Biden intends to address the situation in an upcoming meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
JBS is not commenting on the attack, but it is being pointed to as another example of why companies need to shore up their digital security.
“The scale of the shutdown suggests that the IT network may be monolithic, without much regional or facility-level separation,” says David White, president of cybersecurity firm Axio. “This kind of design means that if one element is down, they are all likely down. To design for resilience, organizations need to understand how an event like ransomware can affect operations.”