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Cyberattack on JBS not expected to impact Australian red meat supply chains

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The cyberattack on JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, is not expected to cause a major impact on Australian red meat supply chains, despite disrupting meat production in the country.

On 30 May, Sunday, JBS suspended operations in its 47 sites across Australia due to a ransomware attack that has affected some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.

Related: Bank cyber safety: Are banks safe from cyber attacks?

In a media statement, The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) said that there is no indication whatsoever that the cyberattack will cause a major impact on Australian domestic red meat and pork products supply.

“The Australian meat industry has systems in place across the supply chain to deal with these types of issues, including managing livestock through the system effectively and access to cold storage for meat supply,” said Patrick Hutchinson, CEO of AMIC.

“The strength and flexibility of the red meat and pork products supply chain has been demonstrated in the past on market access issues and COVID-19 impacts. That is why we are world-renowned as the most reliable meat supply chain globally,” Hutchinson said.

At this time, JBS announced that there has been “significant progress” made in dealing with the cyberattack, with operations expected to soon be fully operational.

“Given the progress our IT professionals and plant teams have made in the last 24 hours, the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry and prepared foods plants will be operational [on 2 June, Wednesday],” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA.

While JBS has not discussed in its public statements if it has paid a ransom, the White House said that the attack is linked to a criminal organisation likely based in Russia.

“The FBI is investigating the incident and CISA is coordinating with the FBI to offer technical support to the company in recovering from the ransomware attack,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, Principal Deputy Press Secretary at the White House.

In addition, Jean-Pierre said the USDA has reached out to several major meat processors in the United States to ensure they are aware of the situation.

JBS said in a statement that is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised.

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