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World's largest meatpacker hit by cyberattack, shuts down all firm's US beef plants

Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The world's largest meatpacker, JBS SA, was reportedly hit by a cyberattack over the weekend, forcing the firm to halt production in all its U.S. beef plants and sparking fears of meat shortages in multiple countries.

What are the details?

Bloomberg reported that the Brazilian company has not yet released details itself, but that an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union said JBS has shut down its beef processing facilities in America following a ransomware attack.

Fox News reported that the shutdowns impacted all nine JBS beef plants in the U.S., with locations in Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Utah, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

JBS did confirm that it suspended its North American and Australian computer systems following the Sunday attack, but remains mum on how operational its plants are globally. The Wall Street Journal reported that JBS produces one quarter of the United States' beef and one-fifth of the country's pork. The company's pork plants in the U.S. appear to remain operational.

The Daily Mail noted that "JBS sells meat under 52 different brand names in the US, including Certified Angus Beef, 5 Star Reserve, Blue Ribbon Angus Beef and Pilgrim's."

According to Bloomberg, "The prospect of more extensive shutdowns worldwide is already upending agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. Livestock futures slumped, while pork prices rose."

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the Biden administration "has offered assistance to JBS" following the attack, and disclosed during a media briefing that JBS told the White House that they received a ransom demand from a criminal organization "likely based in Russia," CNN reported.

What else?

The attack comes off the heels of a cyberattack on the U.S. Colonial Pipeline Co. last month, which forced the company that supplies nearly half the fuel to the Eastern Seaboard to shut down and purportedly pay millions in ransom to a Russian criminal group to regain operations.

The attack on Colonial sparked fears of shortages and caused a run on gas stations in the southeastern U.S., driving up prices regionally and pushing the national price of gasoline upward of $3 per gallon. The Daily Caller pointed out that at least four governors declared states of emergency during the ordeal.

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