The world’s largest meat company is ramping up production again

Once again, blackmail software hit a large company hard. Factories of the largest meat company JBS were shut down after a hacker attack. America’s President Joe Biden is examining possible retaliatory measures.

A plant of the meat company JBS in Michigan

Dhe world’s largest meat company JBS has largely overcome the consequences of a massive cyberattack after several days with production downtimes. All plants in the USA should work at full capacity again on Thursday, the Brazilian company announced. Most of the JBS factories were running again on Wednesday. This includes all of the world’s pork and poultry production, as well as most of the beef factories in the United States and Australia.

JBS was the target of an attack with blackmail software at the weekend, the authors are suspected in Russia. In such attacks, computers are encrypted and the attackers demand a ransom for the release. JBS emphasized that the backup servers with backed up data were not affected and were used to restore the systems. Initially, however, various plants in the USA were shut down, where JBS companies produce around a quarter of the beef and a fifth of the pork production. The factories in Canada and Australia also resumed operations.

US President Biden: “We are looking at this topic closely.”

The attack creates new tensions between Washington and Moscow. Accordingly, US President Joe Biden is examining possible retaliatory measures. “We are looking at this issue closely,” said Biden on Wednesday. When asked by a journalist whether Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to test it before their summit in Geneva in two weeks’ time, Biden said, “No.” The US government made it clear to Russia that a responsible state would not harbor the authors of such attacks, said the White House spokeswoman.

According to the Interfax agency, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov only confirmed that there had been a conversation between the US State Department and the Russian Embassy in Washington. According to its own account, the Kremlin did not initially have such information. “No, I don’t know anything about it,” said spokesman Dmitri Peskov when asked if he knew anything about the organizers of the attack.

Just a few weeks ago, an attack with blackmail software stopped the operation of one of the largest gasoline pipelines in the USA and temporarily restricted the fuel supply in the country. The operator Colonial paid the attackers a ransom of $ 4.4 million, as the company admitted. Hackers from Russia are also suspected to be behind this attack in the USA.

Cyber ​​attacks have occurred time and again in the past few years

The “J&F Investimentos” holding, to which JBS belongs, claims to employ more than 250,000 people and is represented in 190 countries. The plants in Great Britain and Mexico were not affected by the attack, JBS said. There are no indications that the attackers got any data on customers, suppliers or employees. JBS’s head of US operations, Andre Nogueira, thanked the White House, the FBI and the US Department of Agriculture for their support. The ministry suspended the daily publication of data on wholesale meat prices because of the attack.

Attacks with blackmail Trojans have made headlines several times in the past few years. In May 2017 alone, the blackmail Trojan “WannaCry” paralyzed the computers of many private individuals, including computers in British hospitals and Deutsche Bahn timetable displays. A few weeks later, the ransom software “NotPetya” hit the Maersk shipping company and the Nivea manufacturer Beiersdorf, among others.

One of the reasons why these attacks spread so quickly at the time was that computers with older Windows systems and security loopholes that had not been closed were easy targets for them. They were therefore seen as a wake-up call for more IT security. However, there have now been several successful attacks with ransom software.

Mikko Hyppönen from the IT security company F-Secure attributes this, among other things, to the fact that the attack surface is becoming ever larger with digital change in all industries. “We bring everything online.” It will take some time before this general movement on the Internet is adequately secured: “I don’t think we have already seen the worst.”