back to article JBS Foods ransomware gang: White House 'engaging directly' with Russia about attack on massive meat producer

Australian police are investigating a ransomware attack at the facilities of JBS Foods — one of the largest producers of meat in the world – as the White House fingers Russia-based cybercriminals. The attack has forced the Brazilian-owned business, which operates 47 facilities across Australia, with others located in Brazil, …

  1. martinusher Silver badge

    Wrong Target

    Politicians have to play to a constituency and this is just another example of the constituency demanding a us/them perspective. It might sound convincing but it does nothing to fix the problem.

    Kaspersky -- the individual, not the company -- was recently quoted talking about global malware threats and how each country or region tends to specialize in particular types of scams. There's nothing new about particular types of attacks, the recent Colonial Pipeline attack was the result of a phish that shut down the company's business systems (not the actual pipeline as many might have been led to believe) and JBS probably got caught by the same technique. The fact these attacks work isn't the machinations of some dastardly state actor so much as a combination of flawed computer systems and a lack of effective law enforcement. We all know who the real culprits are but somehow we're reluctant to inconvenience our business models to make them ineffective or just plain shut them down.

    One example of ineffectual enforcement is the Indian boiler room scams. The phone scams just go on and on, they've got so ridiculous that their puerps are identified and lampooned on youTube but nothing is done to shut them down at the diplomatic or international law enforcement level. Banks transfer funds in a flash but are completely unable to slow unusual or suspicious transactions (but we'll keep on top of the transactions just to make sure Iran or some other bete noir isn't involved). Its a mess, and the proof of our impotence is the way we try to make PR capital out of what should be a straightforward law enforcement task.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Wrong target

    They should have gone for the baddies that produce spam.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Wrong target

      . . . or did you mean Spam?

      1. gotes

        Re: Wrong target

        Did you mean SPAM?

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    A simpler explanation

    > suggested the recent trend for ransomware attacks appear to be designed to “damage the symbols of Western success” — namely the food and energy sectors.

    Maybe whoever is behind these attacks simply single out large (rich) organisations with crappy security?

    1. Ordinary Donkey

      Re: A simpler explanation

      I must admit, my first thought was Animal Rights activists.

    2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: A simpler explanation

      >Maybe whoever is behind these attacks simply single out large (rich) organisations with crappy security?

      Spot on. These usually spread the same way as any windows viruses... they spaff out spam with virus payload and port scan, finding poorly secured Windows PCs and automatically infecting them. Found a nice clump in one place? Flip on the "encrypt and ask for ransom" switch for them via command & control.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Even simpler explanation

      Russia wants to put as many roadblocks as possible to the US economy recovering now that we're finally getting the virus under control.

      Supply shortages and the resultant inflation that hits consumers in the pocketbook also opens up more avenues to widen the political divisions. A shortage of chips doesn't really matter to the typical Trump voter, but make them pay more for gas or meat and they'll be up in arms and blame it all on Biden!

      In the past ransomware attacks have focused on smaller targets. Taking out such major US companies after going for smaller targets for years didn't happen by accident, they are taking instructions from somewhere. They probably have a list of targeted they identified years ago, there will be more big hits on sprawling US companies that impact consumers across huge swathes of the country.

      1. Blazde

        Re: Even simpler explanation

        That doesn't make any sense. There's so much meat and oil production in the US - and such massive global trade in both - that you'll never significantly impact prices with the odd ransomware attack even against major multinationals. Plus beef prices are up every other month anyway (1st world problems which occur when food suddenly becomes a symbol of the rest of the world too).

        Better to target rare earth mineral mining or semiconductor production or something else 'the West' sucks at but is heavily reliant on.

        Case in point is the 2012 Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco which impacted oil prices basically not at all but caused a significant demand shock which drove up hard drive prices.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Even simpler explanation

          It doesn't have to affect US supply at all, it doesn't even have to impact anybody outside Australia.

          News Corp's mighty organ of truth and balance will run stories, people will panic buy, they will then run stories of empty shelves and shortages with pictures from a single store.

          Their 'journalists' will run stories asking how Obama is doing this to turn everyone into vegan gay muslims

          1. Blazde

            Re: Even simpler explanation

            I'm not sure they need Russian help for any of that. According to Australian Daily Mail today "University-educated mothers under 55" are the true evil at the heart of panic buying. (Whose idea was it to educate the Sheilas?)

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Even simpler explanation

          Both attacks impacted prices.

          The one pipeline attacked supplies gas and related products to about 40% of the US population.

          The meat producer isn't quite as big, but thanks to industry consolidation it supplies nearly 20% of the US. Luckily it looks like they had good backups so they weren't down as long as the pipeline.

    4. Flywheel

      Re: A simpler explanation

      They're obviously spoilt for choice then! Maybe it's time to start sacking few bean counters to pay for proper security. Pour encourager les autres...."

  4. A random security guy

    Bad IT Security are the symbols of Western success?

    Is that what we are protecting?

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Oxymoronic FUD just doing ITs MAD thing ..... again. Or those Russians are brilliant ....

    .... at what they are suspected of doing from out of nowhere again and again and again.

    It is not yet known what the attackers have demanded, nor their origin.

    The White House revealed in a statement:

    "JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia."

    Likely based in Russia with no viable available evidence is worse than just a wild crazy guess and crass misinformation to disguise ignorance in a cloak of desperation coloured with exasperation.

  6. Mark Exclamation

    It was the vegans, I tell you! They'll stop at nothing. At least the animals had a few extra days of existence.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Police were called in

    Sargent Jones: “Now, is there anyone who has a beef with you?”

  8. Korev Silver badge

    At least we know that JBS have cattle and not pets in their IT infrastructure...

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