JBS Says Russian Hackers Likely
Behind Cyberattack On World's Biggest Meat Company
June 2, 2021
A ransomware attack on JBS, the world's largest meat processor,
has forced some operations to stop production and is believed to
have been carried out by cybercriminals based in Russia.
The company informed the U.S. government that the “ransom demand
came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia,” White
House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on June 1.
Brazil-based JBS -- a meat supplier with operations in North
America, Australia, Latin America, and Europe -- announced on
May 31 that it was targeted by a cyber intrusion on some servers
in its North American and Australian IT systems.
The company, which said it took immediate action to suspend all
affected systems and is working with authorities and third-party
experts to resolve the situation, said its backup servers were
not affected and no data is believed to have been compromised or
misused as a result of the intrusion.
JBS said that while experts resolve the issue it “may delay
certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”
The cyberattack comes just three weeks after a suspected
Russia-based hacking group targeted Colonial Pipeline, the
largest U.S. pipeline, creating gasoline shortages across parts
of the U.S. east coast.
Colonial ended up paying a ransom of nearly $5 million in
cryptocurrency to resolve the issue.
In a ransomware attack, a victim’s data is encrypted, making any
files and systems unusable. The criminals then demand money in
exchange for software decryption keys.
The attacks, often carried out by criminal syndicates operating
out of Russia, have become increasingly prevalent, targeting
governments and critical infrastructure organizations.
After the Colonial attack, U.S. President Joe Biden said he
intends to speak directly to President Vladimir Putin about
Russia’s harboring of ransomware criminals when the two meet for
a bilateral summit in Geneva on June 16.
"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,"
FBI is investigating the JBS attack and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture is reacting to any meat processing and supply
The disruption to JBS's operations is already having an impact,
with reports of the company’s Australian business being
paralyzed and several slaughterhouses in the United States
halting production, impacting about one-fifth of the U.S. meat
If the disruption continues, supply shortages could push up U.S.
beef, poultry, and pork prices.
The United States has been hit in recent months by two other
major cybersecurity breaches -- the SolarWinds hack that
compromised U.S. government agencies and private sector computer
networks, and another penetration of some Microsoft email
The SolarWinds hack was blamed on Russian state-backed hackers
while the Microsoft breach was attributed to a Chinese