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Fallout from cyberattack at large meat processing company continues

Posted at 5:24 AM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 17:57:23-04

(WXYZ) — The fallout continues from a cyberattack on the world's largest meat processing company. It's already shut down several JBS meat plants and could lead to price hikes in the coming days and weeks.

The company said it's a victim of a ransomware attack by a criminal organization, it believes has ties to Russia. It comes just weeks after the Colonial Pipeline hack, which led to fuel shortages throughout the southeast.

JBS already shut down all of its U.S. plans, including one in Plainwell, just north of Kalamazoo.

The company said most of its impacted plants should be back online Tuesday. It comes at a time as we approach barbecue season, when most of us are buying more meat from the grocery store.

The USDA is taking steps to try and avoid a supply shortage. It contacted several major meat processors to tell them to keep supplies moving and slaughter additional livestock, also warning meatpackers to make sure their IT infrastructure is strong enough to avoid such a breach.

"I don't think we've seen a period of this kind of sort of high-intensity cyber operations from Russian soil directed against a variety of different U.S. targets, arguably ever," Javid Ali said.

JBS shut down all of its plants in the U.S., Canada and Australia due to the hack, impacting thousands of workers as the company works to bring its system back online.

On Tuesday, the United Food and Commercial Workers International, the union which represents thousands of JBS meatpacking and processing workers, called on the company to work with state and federal leaders to quickly resolve any disruptions.

"As the union for JBS Meatpacking workers across the country, UFCW is pleased JBS is working around the clock to resolve this and UFCW urging JBS to ensure that all of its meatpacking workers receive their contractually guaranteed pay as these plant shutdowns continue," the union's president said via statement.

It's unclear if JBS will pay up to the alleged hackers. Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid millions to its attackers.

The White House says President Joe Biden still plans to meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Geneva later this month, despite these recent attacks.