February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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February 02, 2023

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Ransomware Attack on The World’s Largest Meatpacking Company JBS

Last week, a ransomware attack on the world’s largest meatpacking company caused a temporary shut-down of its operations in Australia and North America. The attack infiltrated the company’s quality assurance systems and ultimately prevented normal production.

The Brazilian based company has been receiving support from both Australian and Canadian authorities as well as the FBI to investigate and address the incident. The ransomware demand was reportedly made by a cybercriminal group known as REvil based in Russia. REvil runs a site on the dark web known as ‘Happy Blog’ on which it posts stolen information of its victims who don’t comply with its ransom demands.

At this stage, JBS has reported that none of its suppliers, employee, or customer data has been compromised. This time, the attack hasn’t been significant enough to disrupt the meat supply in either jurisdiction as both jurisdictions' meat industries had sufficient stockpiles to manage the disruption; however, these types of attacks have the potential to be highly disruptive.

It’s been reported that JBS released a statement that it had made significant progress in resolving the cyberattack and that the vast majority of the beef, pork, poultry and prepared food plants would be operational by 3 June. Reports indicate that JBS has likely chosen not to pay the ransom and is trying to resolve the impacts of the attack itself.

This incident is yet another hack on critical infrastructure which we have blogged on recently. Check out some of our others such as the hack on the American Colonial Pipeline Company; the attack on New York’s subway authority (insert link once published); or the attack on Oldsmar, Florida’s water treatment plant.

Attacks on these large critical infrastructure-type organisations have the potential to seriously affect the stability of various industries, the jobs they provide, the economy and safety of people around the world. It’s little wonder that governments are urging industry’s cooperation and upping the ante in response.

Jacqueline Patishman also contributed to this article.

Copyright 2023 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 160

About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...