It seems hackers have found the perfect targets after the recent ransomware attack that shut down Colonial Pipeline. Now the largest meat producer in the world was forced to shut down. Not because the cows were feeling under the weather but because of a cyberattack. A report from Bloomberg said that almost one-fifth of the beef production of the US has come to a halt.
There are currently five big beef plants in the country and they process about 22,500 cattle every day. The plants belong to JBS and all of them halted just because of a single cyberattack. The attack was on the computer networks of the firm and it halted nearly one-fifth of the beef produced in the US. It’s not even just the US this time.
Similar events were reported in Australia where slaughterhouses across the country were forced to stop production. Many large beef plants in Canada were also stopped amidst the attack. It’s unclear which group was behind the attack and we don’t even know the extent of the damages right now. It’s happening worldwide. JBS has yet to confirm the exact number of the damages.
According to the Steiner Consulting Group, “Retailers and beef processors are coming from a long weekend and need to catch up with orders. If they suddenly get a call saying that product may not deliver tomorrow or this week, it will create very significant challenges in keeping plants in operation and the retail case stocked up”. It’s clear that the cyberattack will lead to an increase in beef prices considering how long the slaughterhouses remain idle.
People in the US were already reeling from the Colonial Pipeline attack and now this happens. The recent cyberattacks have alarmed people and many are questioning if the country’s cyberinfrastructure is even capable of stopping future attacks or not. It’s clear that many companies and industries need to invest in better cybersecurity solutions.
The White House has expressed its concern over the matter and even offered JBS a helping hand. According to John Thune, US Senator South Dakota, “Attacks like this one highlight the vulnerabilities in our nation’s food supply chain security, and they underscore the importance of diversifying the nation’s meat processing capacity”. The White House also held a press conference regarding the incident yesterday.