(Reuters) – The White House said on Tuesday that Brazil's JBS SA had informed the US government that a ransomware attack on the company that had disrupted meat production in North America and Australia stemmed from a criminal organization based in Russia.  JBS is the world's largest meat packer, and the incident caused its Australian operations to close on Monday and has stopped the slaughter of cattle at its factories in several US states.
The ransomware attack follows one last month by a group linked to Russia. on the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel line in the United States, which paralyzed the supply of fuel for several days in the Southeast.
A White House spokeswoman said the United States had contacted the Russian government about the matter and that the FBI was investigating.
"The White House has offered assistance to JBS, and our team at the Department of Agriculture has spoken to their leadership several times over the last day," Jean-Pierre said.
"JBS informed the administration that the demand for redemption came from a criminal organization that is probably based in Russia. The White House is directly involved with the Russian government in this matter and conveys the message that responsible states do not have ransomware criminals, "the spokeswoman added.
JBS sells beef and pork under the Swift brand, with retailers such as Costco wearing their pork loins and tenderloin. JBS also owns most of the chicken processor Pilgrim & # 39 ;s Pride Co., which sells organic chicken under the Just Bare brand.
If the outage continues, consumers may see higher meat prices during the summer barbecue season in the United States and meat exports may be disrupted at a time of strong demand from China.
The disruption of JBS's operations has already had an impact, say analysts. U.S. meat packers slaughtered 94,000 cattle on Tuesday, a 22 percent decrease from a week earlier and 1
"On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that this was the target of an organized cyber-security attack affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems," the company said in a statement on Monday.
"Resolving the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers," the company said in a statement.
The company, headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, controls approximately 20% of the slaughter capacity of American cattle and pigs, according to industry estimates.
"Supply chains, logistics and transportation that keep our society moving are particularly vulnerable to ransomware, where attacks on chokepoints can have oversized effects and encourage fast payments," says threat researcher John Hultquist with the security company FireEye.
USA Prices for beef and Pork is already rising as China increases imports, animal feed costs rise and slaughterhouses face a shortage of workers.
The cyber attack on JBS could push US beef prices even higher by tightening supplies, says Brad Lyle, CFO of Partners for Production Agriculture.
Every impact on consumers depends on how long production is down, says Matthew Wiegand, a risk management consultant and commodity broker at FuturesOne in Nebraska.
"If it lingers for several days, you see a little lack of food service," he said. .
Two deaths and manufacturing shifts were suspended at JBS's beef factory in Greeley due to the cyber attack, representatives of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 said in an email. JBS Beef in Cactus, Texas, also said on Facebook that it would not go on Tuesday.
JBS Canada said in a Facebook post that shifts had been interrupted at its factory in Brooks, Alberta, on Monday and a shift so far had been interrupted on Tuesday.
A representative in Sao Paulo said that the company's Brazilian operations were not affected.
The United States Cattlemen & # 39 ;s Association, a beef industry group, said on Twitter that it had reports of JBS redirecting animal keepers arriving at plants with animals ready for slaughter.
Last year, cattle and pigs backed on American farms and some animals were killed when meat factories were closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks among workers.
A JBS beef facility on the Grand Island, Nebraska said only maintenance and shipping workers would plan to work on Tuesday due to the cyberattack.
United States Congressman Rick Crawford, a Republican in Arkansas, called for a two-party effort to secure food and cyber security in the wake of the cyber attack.
"Cybersecurity is synonymous with national security, and so is food security," Crawford wrote on Twitter.  In recent years, ransomware has evolved from one of many cybersecurity threats to an urgent national security issue with the full attention of the White House.
A number of gangs, many of them Russian-speaking, develop the software that encrypts files and then demand payment in cryptocurrency for keys that allow owners to decrypt and use them again. More and more gangs and affiliates breaking into some of the targets are now demanding additional money for not publishing sensitive documents that they copied before they were encrypted.
In addition to diplomatic pressure, the Biden White House is taking steps to regulate cryptocurrency. transfers and track where they are going. Catalog