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JBS begins reopening meat plants shut down by cyberattack cyber crime news

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JBS SA is at least partially reopening most defunct beef plants in North America and Australia after a cyber attack forced the world’s largest meat producer to halt operations.

The Brazilian food giant said late Tuesday it had made “significant progress” to resolve the attack and that the “vast majority” of its plants would be operational by Wednesday. The company’s Facebook post said the second shift at the Greeley, Colorado facility, one of America’s largest beef plants, was scheduled for a regular production day, while plants in Texas, Nebraska and Wisconsin will resume partial operations. Were were

Labor union leaders said that by Thursday, an Omaha plant would resume work, while a return to normalcy in Pennsylvania. JBS said its Canadian Beef facility in Alberta, one of the largest in the country, has resumed production. Workers at the Longford beef processing plant in Australia have been told to resume operations on Friday, according to a spokesman for the Australian Meat Industry Workers’ Union in Tasmania.

The world’s largest meatpacker said it would open most of its plants on Wednesday [File: Bing Guan/Reuters]

Sunday’s cyberattack forced JBS to shut down all of its beef plants in the US — accounting for about a quarter of the US supply — and slow pork and poultry production. Slaughtering operations across Australia were halted and at least one Canadian plant was disabled. JBS, which has facilities in 20 countries, also owns Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., America’s second largest chicken producer. The extent of the outage may never be known because JBS did not provide details of the impact.

The attack and subsequent shutdowns hit agricultural markets and raised concerns about food security as hackers are targeting increasingly critical infrastructure.

Live cattle futures in Chicago were down as much as 3.4% at Friday’s close, having fallen as much as 2.5% on Wednesday to touch a near five-month low on Tuesday. Pork cutouts in Chicago fell 0.6%, up 2.9% from Friday’s gain.

“Our systems are coming back online and we are sparing no resources to fight this menace,” JBS USA chief executive Andre Nogueira said in a Tuesday statement.

Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday that it does not expect an immediate impact on JBS’s credit rating from the cyber attack and that a future negative rating impact from the attack is “highly unlikely, provided that the company is able to return to normal operations in the near term.” capable.”

Shares of JBS fell 1.1% in So Paulo trading, beating the 1% gain of Brazil’s Ibovespa benchmark index.

It is not clear how the fresh attack will affect meat prices. According to Michael Knapwex, an economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, retailers don’t always like rising prices for consumers and may try to resist. “How long this lasts will have an impact on the level at which consumers shop at grocery stores,” he said in a phone interview.

Food buyers fear disruption from JBS attacks compound already challenging issues in meat industry when prices are already high

“It adds more fuel to the fire,” said Anne Hurtado, a Chicago-based buyer for Amigos Meat & Poultry, which won’t ship her JBS orders in time for this week. “We’ve been seeing a lot of inflation in the meat industry over the past month. Demand has been high, exports have been high.”

Kevin Lindgren, director of merchandising at Baldor Specialty Foods, said prices for bulk beef from the meat market in New York have risen 2% since Friday.

“Nothing crazy yet,” Lindgren said, though he expects prices to be 10% higher in a week. “It will get progressively higher when squeezed.”

The JBS attack has again put America’s system of reinventing cheap meat into the limelight.

The region is dominated by a handful of titans — Tyson Foods Inc., JBS and Cargill Inc. — who control nearly two-thirds of America’s beef. Taking down some plants could also disrupt supplies, as was seen last year when Covid-19 rendered plants useless and led to meat shortages across the country. The industry is so focused that deactivating JBS plants meant the US government was barred Tuesday from releasing some of the key meat-pricing data on which agricultural markets rely daily.

“Such attacks highlight weaknesses in our nation’s food supply chain security, and they underscore the importance of diversifying the nation’s meat processing capacity,” said US Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the second most powerful Republican in the Senate. Huh.”

The JBS attack comes three weeks after Colonial Pipeline Company, the operator of the largest US gasoline pipeline, was targeted in a ransomware attack for a group called Darkside. Experts have said there is some evidence linking the group to Russia. This was followed by a series of devastating hacks against US government agencies, businesses and healthcare facilities, often blamed on Russia or Russia-based hackers in relations between the countries.

According to four people familiar with the campaign, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, JBS, a notorious Russia-linked hacking group, is behind the attack. Cybergang is known as REvil or Sodinokibi.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia has no knowledge of the cyber attack, but is in diplomatic contact with the US government. He said cybercrime issues would be on the agenda at the June 16 summit between President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

Alan Liska, senior security architect at cybersecurity analytics firm Recorded Future, said there have been more than 40 public ransomware attacks against food companies since May 2020.

“It’s scary to see the number of significant hacks and cyberattacks in America and critical infrastructure,” Republican Representative Kevin Brady of Texas told David Westin in a Bloomberg TV interview. such attacks. “We have to think through our entire supply chain in every important part of our economy and identify where those cyber vulnerabilities could be.”

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