JBS USA, the world’s largest beef supplier, shuttered all of its meat processing plants after a ransomware attack affects its IT systems around the world.
JBS USA announced the ransomware attack on Sunday evening. The company supplies 24% of the nation’s meat. Tyson Foods is second at 22%.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investigating the ransomware hacking that affected the company’s facilities in the United States and Australia.
The USDA contacted several major meat processing plants in the United States to ensure the supply of meat will continue on pace. The government hopes to prevent a meat shortage that could lead to Americans hoarding meat.
JBS closed meat processing facilities in Utah, Texas, Wisconsin, and Nebraska and the ransomware hack affected late shifts at Iowa and Colorado plants on Tuesday night.
The ransomware attack on JBS USA is similar to the cyberattack that shut down Georgia-based Colonial pipeline and sent gas prices soaring last month.
Colonial regained access to their IT systems by paying $5 million ransom in Bitcoins to the hackers.
Hackers, usually based in Russia and Ukraine, gain access to corporation’s IT systems when an employee unwittingly clicks a phishing link in emails.
The phishing emails are designed to impersonate companies and individuals known to corporation employees.