White House: Ransomware attack on major meat processing company 'likely' from Russia

Source: Politico | June 1, 2021 | Ben Leonard

The Biden administration is “assessing” any potential impacts on supply.

A ransomware attack hitting the world’s largest meat processing company, JBS, was from a “criminal organization likely based in Russia,” the company told the White House.

“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,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

The FBI is investigating, Jean-Pierre said, and the USDA has engaged with other meat processing companies in the U.S. to inform them of the situation. The administration is “assessing” any potential impacts on supply, Jean-Pierre said. President Joe Biden has told his administration to “determine what we can do to mitigate any impacts as they may become necessary,” Jean-Pierre said.

JBS USA said in a statement Monday that it will “take time” to resolve the issue and said there could be delays in sales. The company said the attack targeted their IT systems in North America and Australia.

“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 statement said. “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.”


JBS controls about 23 percent of cattle processing capacity in the U.S., more than any other beef packer, according to industry data compiled by Steiner Consulting Group, an economic consulting firm.

The company, which is based in Brazil, is also the second-largest U.S. pork processor, handling 18 percent of national capacity. One of its subsidiaries is Pilgrim’s Pride, which is the world’s largest poultry processor in terms of volume and is second-largest in the U.S. after Tyson Foods.


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