White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that “the White House has offered assistance to JBS” and that the company told the Biden administration that they had received a ransom demand from a criminal organisation “likely based in Russia”.
“The White House is engaging with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals,” Ms Jean-Pierre said during a press gaggle on Air Force One.
President Joe Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on 16 June. Asked whether this most recent cyber attack will change anything, Ms Jean-Pierre said: “We do not regard the meeting with Russia’s Putin as a reward. Biden is meeting with Putin because of our differences, not in spite of them.”
The FBI is investigating the attack and the Department of Agriculture has reached out to several meat processors in the US.
JBS USA is a US subsidiary of the world’s largest meat supplier. The company said on Monday that it was targeted in an “organised cybersecurity attack” that impacted IT systems in North America and Australia.
The company said in a statement that they became aware of the attack on Sunday and suspended affected systems, notified authorities, and activated IT staff and “third-party experts to resolve the situation”.
“The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an Incident Response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible,” the statement said. “The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation.”
They added: “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”
JBS USA is a subsidiary of Brazil’s JBS SA and is the world’s largest beef and pork processor. The attack affected one of Canada’s largest meatpacking plants, Bloomberg reported. Cattle and sheep slaughtering was suspended at an Australian facility, according to Financial Review.
A cyber attack against Colonial Pipeline recently caused long lines at gas stations in the southeast as motorists started panic-buying gasoline. The company, based in Georgia, revealed that they paid a ransom of $4.4m in Bitcoin to DarkSide, a hacking group based in Russia.
Following a directive from the Biden Administration, US pipeline operators are now required to conduct a cybersecurity assessment.
The directive from the Transportation Security Administration also mandates that owners and operators of pipelines report any incidents to the government and that they have a cybersecurity coordinator available at all times to work with authorities if a cyber attack takes place.
On 12 May, Mr Biden signed an executive order to “improve the nation’s cybersecurity and protect federal government networks,” according to The White House.
The Independent has reached out to JBS USA for comment.
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