JBS Facilities Operating Again After Hackers Force Shutdown

Jun 4, 2021  | 2 min  | Ep4642

The biggest meat processing company in the world was slowed this week from a different challenge - a cyberattack.

As JBS tried to get back online, the hack exposed the vulnerability of industry inside and outside of agriculture. 

Josh Buettner has the story. Producer Contact josh@iowapbs.org

Joan Ruskamp/J&S Feedlot – Dodge, Nebraska:  “Ok first it was oil, now it’s agriculture. What’s next?  In Grand Island alone, that’s 5,000 head, each day, and the stores, the restaurants that they supply, that’s their supplier.”

Early this week, nearby cattle futures plummeted to session lows following a Memorial Day cyberattack on the world’s largest meat processing company.  The electronic assault prompted Brazil-based JBS to temporarily close several of its U.S. and Australian operations. 

Attributed to a Russian criminal gang, the supply chain disruption came one month after a similar hack shutdown the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply.

Christopher Krebs/Former U.S. CyberSecurity Director/Trump Administration:  “They went after our gas and they went after our hot dogs.  No one is out of bounds here.  Everyone is in play and every single corporate executive needs to be convening their cybersecurity teams today to understand what their continuity plans are.  How are they going to recover from a hack?”

The growing list of ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses and infrastructure has government officials, current and former, on alert.  The White House said President Biden would address the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a summit in Geneva, Switzerland this month.

Jen Psaki/White House Press Secretary:  “We’re not taking any options off the table, in terms of how we may respond.  We’re in direct touch with the Russians, as well, to convey our concerns about these reports.”

Cattle futures rebounded and it has been reported all domestic facilities owned by the country’s second largest processor of beef, pork and chicken were up and running by week’s end.  Academic experts estimate a one-day JBS shutdown cuts nearly one quarter of the nation’s beef processing capacity.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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