Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Cyberattack on meat processor JBS shows how the food supply is a national security issue

It's bad enough when the pandemic and market responses create supply chain disruptions as I documented for the microchip supply chain for autos and appliances. It's worse when criminals disrupt supply chains as Russian hackers using ransomware shut down the Colonial Pipeline did last month. That happened again, this time to the food supply, which CNBC reported yesterday in Cyber attack hits world’s largest meat processor in North America and Australia.

CNBC's Eamon Javers reports on the latest details from the cyberattack on JBS, the world's largest meat supplier.
The food supply has now become a 21st Century crime scene and a national security issue. Lovely.

Follow over the jump for coverage of this story on the morning news shows.

I begin with Cyberattack On Meat Supplier Could Mean Food Shortages, Higher Prices on NBC's Today Show.

After the world’s largest meat supplier was hacked, six major production plants in the U.S. have been shut down and grocery stores, restaurants and consumers are bracing for potential shortages and higher prices. Russian hackers are again being blamed. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY.
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew made a point that Food, Inc. makes about industrial agriculture; food processing has become too centralized and concentrated for the good of farmers, workers, and consumers and a more diverse food system would serve them better. To get students to think about that, I ask them "In 1970, how much of the beef market was controlled by the top beef packers? In 2010?" The answers show how much meat packing has consolidated during those 40 years. "Food, Inc." focused on how this concentration of power led to abuses of workers and outbreaks of food-borne diseases and could lead to disruptions of the food supply from market forces. It never mentioned cyberattacks as a possibility. A decade later, they are.

By the way, one of the major meat packers "Food, Inc." mentioned was Swift. As the video above showed, Swift is now part of JBS.

CBS This Morning uploaded two videos about the cyberattack to its YouTube channel, beginning with Major meat supplier halts operations after ransomware attack.

The FBI is investigating a cyber attack that forced JBS, the world's largest meat processor, to stop some of its operations. The company said Tuesday it has made "significant progress" in resolving the attack. JBS told the White House it was targeted by a criminal organization likely based in Russia. Jeff Pegues has the details.
Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta is taking this attack very seriously. So is Former Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend, the subject of the next segment, Former Homeland Security adviser on recent ransomware attacks on food, oil companies.

Former Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend joined “CBS This Morning” to discuss the recent ransomware hacks on a major oil pipeline and meat supplier.
Once again, this attack shows that the U.S. food system is a national security issue as well as part of the nation's infrastructure. It always was, but now it's obvious.

I conclude with One of world’s largest meat suppliers hit by cyberattack from ABC News.

Meat processing company JBS said it was the victim of a ransomware attack on Sunday, just weeks after the destructive Colonial Pipeline hack.
This is the briefest of the segments, but it did a good job of concentrating on the effects on consumers and showing where the plants are. One of those plants is in Michigan, which means I might look at this story from a Michigan perspective next. Stay tuned.

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