According to a June 1 statement from the USDA, the White House was aware of a ransomware attack against JBS, which has affected the company’s operations, including its facilities in the United States. The USDA is continuing to work closely with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, JBS USA and others to monitor this situation closely and offer help and assistance to mitigate any potential supply or price issues.
As part of that effort, USDA has reached out to several major meat processors in the United States to ensure they are aware of the situation, encouraging them to accommodate additional capacity where possible, and to stress the importance of keeping supply moving.
According to a report from Bleeping Computer, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Brazil-based JBS S.A. confirmed it had received a ransom demand from attackers likely from Russia.
Jean-Pierre said the White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this issue and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals. The FBI is investigating and working with CISA to provide technical support to JBS in recovering from the ransomware attack.
According to a Reuters report, JBS has suspended all affected systems and notified authorities. Apparently, the meat producer’s backup servers were not affected. Resolution of the incident will take some time in some locations, as the attack may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s working to resolve the issue
According to a June 1, 2021 release, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s announced significant progress in resolving the cyberattack that has affected the company’s operations in North America and Australia. Operations in Mexico and the UK were not affected, and are conducting business as normal, says the joint statement from Pilgrim’s and JBS USA.
“JBS USA and Pilgrim’s are a critical part of the food supply chain and we recognize our responsibility to our team members, producers and consumers to resume operations as soon as possible,” says Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO. “Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat. We have cybersecurity plans in place to address these types of issues and we are successfully executing those plans. Given the progress our IT professionals and plant teams have made in the last 24 hours, the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry and prepared foods plants will be operational tomorrow.”
On June 1, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s were able to ship product from nearly all of its facilities to supply customers. The company also continues to make progress in resuming plant operations in the U.S. and Australia. Several of the company’s pork, poultry and prepared foods plants were operational and its Canada beef facility resumed production.
JBS USA has received strong support from the U.S., Australian and Canadian governments, conducting daily calls with officials in an effort to safeguard the food supply.
“I want to personally thank the White House, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Australian and Canadian governments for their assistance over the last two days,” says Nogueira.
Finally, the company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised.
It is unknown at this time whether the cyberattack has affected any JBS plant process control systems.