Could the Global Food Supply Chain be Affected by a Cyber Attack?

Just weeks after the operator of the biggest US oil pipeline was paralyzed by a cyberattack, one of the world’s largest meat processors, JBS Foods, has suffered a cyber attack.  The incident impacted multiple JBS production facilities worldwide over the Memorial Day weekend, including those from the United States, Australia, and Canada.

JBS USA issued a press release on May 31 confirming that the attack impacted the company’s Australian and North American IT systems: “On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems. The company took immediate action, suspending all affected systems, notifying authorities, and activating the company’s global network of IT professionals and third-party experts to resolve the situation.  The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an Incident Response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible.”  An ongoing investigation has so far not seen any evidence of customer, supplier, or employee data compromise.

JBS controls about 20% of the slaughtering capacity for US cattle and hogs, according to industry estimates.  There are concerns about how this attack could further hurt an industry that’s already struggling to keep up with demand. U.S. prices of beef and chicken have soared in recent months amid shortages. It’s unclear what kind of an impact the cyberattack will have on consumers, but as was seen with the pipeline attack, supply could drop lower, and prices could rise.  Jon Condon is a publisher at Beef Central, a daily news and market intelligence service for the beef industry. Condon said in a published report. “The longer it goes, the worse the situation in terms of supply and disruption. This will create logistical problems right up and down the supply chain. It’s going to put enormous hardship on the JBS operations.”

The U.S. government is aware of this latest attack.  Principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The president has directed the administration to determine what we can do to mitigate any impacts as they may become necessary.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just issued new pipeline cyber security requirements in response to the Colonial breach. Perhaps there will be more to come in light of this attack? The Australian government has also been informed of the incident and is currently working with JBS to bring back online production facilities around the country.

While it is too early to tell if the attack is ransomware and where the attack originated from, it seems that no industry is safe from a breach. If your business isn’t prepared for a cyber attack, then you need to ask yourself why not.  If you need help to protect yourself from a breach, then you need to contact Uzado.

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