Another Corporate Ransomware Attack: This One Hits World’s Largest Meat Producer

Written by Wes Walker on June 2, 2021

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Since the pandemic began, we’ve become a lot more aware of supply line concerns. The second big hacker attack against corporations in a month reveals another weak link in that supply chain.

Not long after hackers were paid millions to end the shutdown of a pipeline leading to serious fuel shortages along the East Coast, the world’s largest meat producing company was the target of another ransomware attack.

JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, stood down thousands of staff after a suspected Russian ransomware attack that disrupted cattle-slaughtering operations of the Brazil-based company.

The meat packer stood down up to 7,000 workers in Australian abattoirs, while shifts for at least 3,000 workers have been canceled across Canada and the United States, the Financial Times reported.

The company’s beef-processing factory in Cactus, Texas, was shut on Tuesday, the plant said on Facebook. The Greeley meat-packing plant in Colorado—JBS’s largest U.S. slaughterhouse—also saw shifts being canceled, a labor union representative said. The meat-packing company also canceled shifts at its beef plant in Brooks, Alberta, Canada.

…JBS said on Tuesday evening it had made progress resolving the issue and most of its plants would be fully functional shortly. The company added that it had determined it had been the target of an organized cyberattack, and had suspended impacted systems. Those included Australian and Northern American information technology systems, the group said. —NewsWeek

There is no word yet on whether or not they paid the ransom.

Who has been the prime suspect, according to reporting?

A notorious Russia-linked hacking group is behind the attack on JBS, according to four people familiar with the campaign who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The cybergang goes by the name REvil or Sodinokibi.

While it’s unclear if all of REvil’s hackers operate in Russia, the group’s public face, a user on the dark web cyber-crime forum XSS who goes by the name “Unknown,” exclusively publishes in Russian. REvil typically uses a dark web blog dubbed “Happy Blog” to name and shame victims when they decline to engage in ransom talks. REvil has yet to post a blog item dedicated to JBS. Moscow and Washington are in direct contact over the hack, Interfax reported, citing Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. –Bloomberg

Don’t worry, though. The White House is all over it.

“The White House has offered assistance to JBS, and our team, and the Department of Agriculture, have spoken to their leadership several times in the last day,” Jean-Pierre said. “JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization, likely based in Russia. The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter, and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals.” — GP

If there’s one thing that Biden has shown in these last couple of months it’s that he can be tough on his enemies. It’s too bad that all of those ‘enemies’ Joe has been tough on happen to be American citizens and taxpayers.

As for America’s actual enemies abroad? That’s another story.

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