JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, which supplies beef production in the US, Australia and Canada, is the latest major company to be hit by a ransomware attack by cyber criminals.
The attack forced operations to grind to a halt, impacting thousands of workers and disrupting the meat supply chain.
Ransomware, which locks down a computer network in demand for a ransom payment, has reared its head in recent months with the attack on Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) and the attack on major infrastructure provider Colonial Pipeline being some of the latest high-profile victims.
Colonial Pipeline, in fact, made the £3.1 million ransom payment to unlock their IT systems. While JBS also made a payment of £7.8 million to get their operations back up and running.
JBS’s Chief Executive, Andre Nogueira, said:
“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally […] However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”
JBS has said it has suspended all impacted IT systems and that it’s backup system was not compromised.
How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware Attacks
According to Lindy Cameron, Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), ransomware is now the biggest online threat to people in the UK. This was stated before the recent G7, where global leaders pledged to work together “to urgently address the escalating shared threat”.
The G7 summit highlighted the threat of ransomware attacks, as well as the increased publicity they are getting, and called on the leading industrial nations to take action to tackle the problem, as well as Russia to “hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks”.
With ransomware attacks becoming increasingly common, especially on businesses with outdated, legacy IT infrastructure, it is imperative that businesses take the threat seriously and mitigate against the risks. Additionally, businesses who rely on IT infrastructure for operations will always be a prime target for hackers as they are the most likely to pay a ransom to unlock their networks. In the instance of JBS and similar companies today, most meat processing plants use technology for many critical operations and processes, which presents both opportunity and additional risk.
So, for those who are yet to put the technology and processes in place to protect themselves, it’s time to act now.
To avoid costly ransomware payments: