INTERNATIONAL media is reporting Brazil's JBS SA has received a ransom demand and its investigations have found the cyberattack against the company that has shut down meat processing in North America and Australia originated from a criminal organisation likely based in Russia.
JBS is the largest protein supplier in the world and analysts are reporting via social media its influence in the US is such that government wholesale price data can't be published while it has plants offline.
The attack on its information technology systems forced JBS Australia to stop processing at plants across Australia on Monday.
The ransomware attack on JBS comes in the wake of a cyberattack last month by a group with ties to Russia on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States. Fuel delivery was shut down for several days in the south east of the US as a result. It was widely reported Colonial agreed to pay the ransom.
US media have this morning quoted White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre saying her government had contacted Russia's government about the matter and that the FBI was investigating.
She told media JBS had notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organisation likely based in Russia.
Along with beef, JBS' internationally has extensive interests in pork and chicken.
Analysts in the US are reporting via social media that slaughter volumes in their country have already taken a significant hit, some suggesting by more than a fifth.
Australia's agriculture minister David Littleproud said it was important to respect the investigation process.
Speaking to ABC Drive Brisbane, he said men and women, not just here in Australia in law enforcement, but also globally, were working as quickly as possible through the information they had to get to the bottom of it and to bring to justice those who had perpetrated the attack.
"JBS have obviously undertaken all the appropriate steps that corporate Australians or any Australians should undertake when they come under cyberattack. And so that's meant that we've been able to have this collaborative approach with our international partners," he said.
He also made the point Australia could learn from this incident and set parameters into the future that would protect networks, not just within the government but also corporate Australia.
"That's the new threat globally that the world is facing and we need to be alive to that. And this is a real life case of it," he said.
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