A cyber attack on JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer, has forced the closure of some slaughterhouses worldwide, and there are signs that the closure is spreading.
JBS’s five largest U.S. beef plants, which collectively handle 22,500 cattle a day, have stopped processing meat, according to Facebook messages, employees and unions after the Sunday attack on the company’s computer networks. According to a trade group, the massacres in Australia have already stopped, and one of Canada’s largest beef plants was idle for its second day on Tuesday.
The prospect of more extensive closures around the world is already increasing agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. In the U.S. alone, JBS accounts for nearly a quarter of all beef capacity and nearly a fifth of pork. Livestock futures have fallen.
The Brazilian meat giant has shut down its North American and Australian computer networks following an organized attack on Sunday on some of its servers, the company said in an email. Without commenting on the operations at its plants, JBS said the incident could delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.
“Retailers and beef processors are coming from a long weekend and need to catch up,” Steiner Consulting Group said in its Daily Livestock Report. “If they suddenly get a call saying that the product may not be delivered tomorrow or this week, it will create very important challenges to keep plants running and fill the retail bag.”
JBS shut down meat processing facilities in Utah, Texas, Wisconsin and Nebraska on Tuesday, according to union officials and employees, and canceled shifts at plants in Iowa and Colorado. Union Facebook reports also said that some murder and manufacturing shifts in the US have also been canceled. Meat and chicken facilities across the country are also being closed by the owner of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second largest U.S. chicken producer, according to union officials and employees.
JBS did not comment on the closure of US plants, although the company said its Brazilian plants were operating normally.
JBS shares rose 1.4% in Sao Paulo, up from a 1.5% rise for the Brazilian Ibovespa Standard Index. Chicago futures fell to 3.4% to their lowest levels since January 12, before losses were reduced to around 1%. The potential closure of abattoirs at JBS plants has exacerbated an existing supply flow, with too many cattle as the ability to process it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s afternoon reports on beef and pork did not disclose prices due to ‘problems with the submission of packers’. However, the CME Group’s futures contract for pork increased by more than 2%.
JBS is the no. 1 beef producer in the US and accounts for 23% of the country’s maximum capacity compared to competing Tyson Foods Inc. ‘s 22% stake, according to a Tyson investor report.
According to the company’s registrations, JBS USA’s beef and pork units and Pilgrim’s Pride had approximately $ 40 billion in 2020. The division includes operations in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Europe.
Hackers now spot the commodity industry with the JBS attack just three weeks after Colonial Pipeline Co., the operator of the largest U.S. gas pipeline, was targeted in a ransomware attack. It also happened while the global meat industry was struggling with the prolonged absence of Covid-19, after recovering from the mass outbreaks last year, where the plants closed and disrupted stocks.
“While JBS has not confirmed that it was a ransomware attack, it has all the characteristics of one,” said Allan Liska, senior security architect at cybersecurity analytics firm Recorded Future, saying more than 40 public ransomware attacks have been reported. against food companies since May 2020. ‘The actual number is likely to be higher.’
According to Scott Payne, spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union Local 401. The cyber attack affected the Canadian beef plant in Brooks, Alberta, about 190 kilometers east of Calgary. plant processes 30% of Canada’s federally inspected cattle, according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
A JBS packaging facility in Belleville, Ontario, where meat, pork and salmon are prepared for grocery stores, normally worked, UFCW Canada Local 175 Tim Deelstra said Monday. In the US, the UFCW Local 7 posted on Facebook that shifts A and B are being killed and manufactured, canceled for June 1st. The Local 7 membership includes 3,000 workers at JBS in Greeley, Colorado.
JBS owns facilities in 20 countries. The US accounts for half of the company’s revenue, while Australia and New Zealand represent 4% and Canada 3% according to the company’s fillings. The company also operates in South America and Europe.
Backup servers well
Backup servers are not affected, and the company is working to repair systems as soon as possible, according to a statement from JBS USA on Monday. The processor said it was not aware that data from customers, suppliers or employees was compromised or misused.
The Australian Cyber Security Center is providing technical assistance to JBS, while Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government, along with international partners, was trying to track down, rectify and prosecute those who committed the attack.
According to its website, JBS is the largest Australian meat and food processor with a portfolio of beef, lamb, pork and value-added branded products. It is exported to more than 50 countries and the Dinmore plant is the largest beef plant in the southern hemisphere. On the local market, the Australian Meat Industry Council said there was no indication that the attack would have a major impact on the supply of red meat and pork products.
Matt Dalgleish, manager of commodity market insights at Thomas Elder Markets, says the closure is a major concern, saying Australian ships abroad account for about 70 to 75% of the red meat products of sheep and cattle. There is also a risk to global stocks.
“If it’s a short-term scenario, just a week or something they are not offline, then it’s probably just a minimal hiccup,” Dalgleish said. But ‘given the size of JBS worldwide, if they were more than a week offline, we’ll definitely see disruption in supply chains,’ he said.
– With the help of Jason Scott, Sybilla Gross, Michael Hirtzer, Marcy Nicholson, Alyza Sebenius and Lydia Mulvany.