JBS Cyberattack Impacts Greeley Plant Workers, Shifts Cancelled
JBS, the world's largest meat-processing company, was targeted in a major cyberattack over the weekend, forcing all nine JBS beef plants across the United States to temporarily shut down operations this week.
The ransomware attack, in which hackers get into a computer network and threaten to cause disruption or delete files unless a ransom is paid, affected thousands of JBS workers nationwide - including JBS workers at the Greeley plant, who faced two shift cancellations as a result of the cyberattack on Tuesday (June 1).
According to the Greeley Tribune, North American and Australian plants experienced an “organized” cybersecurity attack on Sunday, which impacted its informational systems globally.
“On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems,” the meat-processing company wrote in a statement on Monday. “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”
The Greeley JBS plant is the company's largest beef plant in the United States. Tuesday's shift cancellations are said to have impacted an estimated 2,900+ workers at the plant.
A spokesperson from UFCW Local 7 confirmed Tuesday evening that Shift A employees will not work on Wednesday (June 2).
Employees who work shift B or in shipping and hides, however, are expected to work regular hours.
“The JBS cyberattack is an attack on those who work to provide food for our families,” Rep. Ken. Buck (R-Windsor) said in a statement. “We must find out who is responsible and hold them criminally accountable. I will continue to monitor the situation and provide assistance to JBS here in eastern Colorado.”
No confirmations have been made regarding who may have instigated the attack, but the meat-processing company said it is working with a response firm to restore all systems quickly. Brett Callow, a threat analyst at the security firm Emsisoft, said companies like JBS make ideal targets for these cyberattacks.
“They play a critical role in the food supply chain and threat actors likely believe this increases their chances of getting a speedy payout,” Callow said.
JBS makes up 23% of all beef production in the United States, just topping rival Tyson Foods.
The JBS cyberattack comes shortly after hackers shut down operation of the Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, for nearly a week. Colonial Pipeline later confirmed it paid $4.4 million to the hackers.
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