Ag News

JBS back to full capacity after cyberattack

by Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Jun 09, 2021 at 0:00 AM

A ransomware attack discovered on May 30 prompted JBS USA and Pilgrim’s to close slaughter facilities in the United States, Canada and Australia, though the company says it minimized the damage.

According to published reports, nine U.S. beef and pork slaughter facilities closed down. The FBI attributed the cyberattack to the REvil ransomware gang.

On June 3, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s announced that all their global facilities were fully operational after resolution of the criminal cyberattack on May 30, according to a company press release.

The company said it limited the loss of food produced during the attack to less than one days’ worth of production. Any lost production across the company’s global business will be fully recovered, limiting any potential negative impact on producers, consumers and the company’s workforce.

“The criminals were never able to access our core systems, which greatly reduced potential impact,” said Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO. “We are fortunate that all of our facilities around the globe are operating at normal capacity, and we are focused on fulfilling our responsibility to produce safe, high-quality food.”

In a June 2 interview with RFD-TV, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Economist Veronica Nigh pointed out that because JBS USA accounts for approximately 20% of U.S. beef processing, any impact on the company’s operations is significant.

“Certainly, folks who were trying to sell [during the shutdown] had to turn around and put those cattle back on feed for a couple more days,” Nigh told RFD-TV on June 2.

Immediately upon learning of the intrusion, JBS said it contacted federal officials and activated its cybersecurity protocols, including voluntarily shutting down all its systems to isolate the intrusion, limit potential infection and preserve core systems. In addition, the company’s encrypted backup servers, which were not infected during the attack, allowed for a return to operations sooner than expected. JBS USA and Pilgrim’s prioritized restoring systems critical to production to ensure the food supply chain, producers and consumers were not adversely impacted.

The company said it was not aware of any evidence that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.

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