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Meat Packers On the Wrong End of Malware

Meat Packers On the Wrong End of Malware

Once again, ransomware strikes, this time targeting the world’s largest meat processor and distributor, JBS S.A. This disruptive cyberattack forced the company to suspend operations in both North America and Australia, a move which had devastating consequences to the supply chain. What can we learn from this situation?

What Happened at JBS S.A.?

In May of 2021, JBS’s global IT systems fell prey to a ransomware attack that forced the meat processor’s operations to shut down entirely. All operations came to a screeching halt, putting a hold on the company’s operations from livestock procurement to exporting and shipping.


JBS prepared adequately with the use of backups that could be used to restore the systems, and, furthermore, there was no evidence to suggest that customer, employee, or supplier data was compromised by this attack. Still, there is plenty to learn and take away from this situation. Here are some ideas to consider.

The Culprits

There has been no indication that activist groups were involved in the attack. All we know is that the culprits this time around are sophisticated cybercriminals who are usually associated with Russian cyberattacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this attack, having already reached out to Russia about it.


The Australian Cyber Security Centre has also gotten involved, although they have chosen not to disclose what they are actually doing with it. The company is also working with the Australian government and the Australian Federal Police to look into the attack.

Ransomware’s Influence on Other Threats

Considering how long other threats have been around, ransomware is still in its infancy and has so much more room to grow into a truly devastating and dangerous entity. We have already seen it do things as simple as locking down files until ransoms get paid, and as complex as coercing users into leaking information online if the ransom is not paid. Even for businesses with backups in place, like JBS, the latter is particularly concerning, especially when you take into account that these organizations are often governed by data privacy regulations.


That being said, there is no excuse not to have a data backup in place, particularly if you are struck by the former type of ransomware that isn’t threatening to leak your data online. Most ransomware spreads through the use of automated phishing campaigns and hands-off technology, meaning that with a few simple steps, you too can protect your business from ransomware threats and the dangers they pose.


Ashton Technology Solutions is committed to helping your business navigate the complex world of cybersecurity. To learn more about how we can protect your organization, reach out to us at 216-397-4080.

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