US Beef Supply Threatened by Hackers

Mother's Day Steaks by mamamusings is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

First, they came for our jobs, our oil pipelines, our plastic straws…

Now they come for our beef!

The world’s biggest beef company, JBS, is a Brazilian enterprise with branches around the world. Its JBS USA division is headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. 

JBS routinely rakes in upwards of $27 billion per year and supplies beef to many tables from Montana to Mississippi. 

If you like barbecuing and eating a fresh cut, you can thank JBS. 

Shockingly, however, a recent hack brought down huge portions of its global operations. 

JBS now says it’s starting to get back online and will have most plants running by today; however, this disruption has industry experts scratching their heads and questioning the safety of the US food supply.

Lone Hacker in Warehouse by dustball is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

What Exactly Happened?

Even though JBS USA Chief Andre Nogueira said that the systems are returning back online, there’s no doubt that this hack shook the company’s foundations. 

JBS informed the Biden administration of the hack earlier in the week; apparently, they’ve also been demanded to pay a massive ransom by a Russia-linked hacking group. 

The Colonial pipeline hack was also done by the DarkSide hacking group, which has links to Russia and the Kremlin. 

Essentially, after four years of hysteria in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax (that didn’t even exist), the Biden administration is getting spanked in Cyrillic by a bunch of Russian cybercriminals.

At this point, some people probably wish Biden was colluding with Russia. At least their ability to drive a vehicle or eat steak wouldn’t be interrupted by his administration’s gross incompetence and failure to protect key industries. 

JBS is the second-biggest beef producer in America; it also ranks second in chicken and pork production. A day of shutdown cancels out 25% of our meat – about 20,000 head of cattle worth.

Apparently, the hackers knew about the impact they could have by shutting them down. This is why they targeted the systems that JBS uses to process and manage its slaughter and production operations. 

JBS has 84 factories in the US. Right now, it is not clear exactly how many were crippled on Monday and Tuesday because of the attack; all that’s known is it was enough to cause serious issues with shipping and processing.

By crippling some of JBS’ plants and a large percentage of America’s beef for a couple of days, Russian hackers were able to put a dent in our confidence and extort money. 

The CIA says this is all part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “resurgence strategy.” Former Moscow station Chief Daniel Hoffman says that Putin is seeking to “tear down our democracy” ahead of the June 16 summit coming up in Geneva between Putin and Biden.

The Bottom Line

Meat prices have already been hitting the roof, thanks to COVID. The last thing we need is this hack on top of everything. 

Experts say you can expect to look at a price hike of at least 2% this year. This is the last thing we need right now. 

Russia senses weakness in Biden, so they’re going after him and it’s hitting all of us too. 

Can we have Trump back?