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Cyber attack threatens Aussie beef supply

·2-min read
A JBS worker works a box ready for delivery. A cow stands in a field at sunrise.
Australia's largest meat processing company has been targeted in a global cyber attack (Source: Getty/Instagram @nossajbs)

A massive cyber attack has shut down Australia’s largest meatworks facility, owned by JBS, which has 47 facilities across Australia.

Staff are reportedly receiving text messages from JBS advising them not to attend work or log on to computers.

The Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud confirmed the attack this morning on 4BC Drive and said the situation is “very concerning”.

“Obviously it's a significant disruption into the supply chain. And JBS is obviously taking the appropriate steps and working with the Federal Government around trying to rectify this,” Littleproud said.

“It's actually further than just the Australian operations. It's a global attack. And we're working now with international partners around trying to trace and then rectify and obviously prosecute where possible, who has perpetrated this attack.”

Littleproud said they are working as quickly as possible with JBS, the Australian Government and the Australian Federal Police.

He said it is not yet known who is responsible for the attack and indicated the investigation is more complicated because it is global.

“Obviously JBS is a Brazilian company, but it has operations globally. So it's important that when there are multifaceted attacks globally, that we work with our international partners and we've got a good foundation in which to do that, particularly with the United States and Canada,” he said.

What will this do to meat prices?

Littleproud said it is difficult to tell right now what the full effects of the attack are, but given JBS’ reliance on technology to test quality the attack will have an impact.

Until the company is able to get back up and running, the production line from farm to table will be halted.

“Obviously, quality assurance is what JBS and all our processing facilities work on. And we rely on technology to provide that confidence and traceability of the product,” Littleproud said.

Not only that but as the beef industry in Australia was still recovering from the drought, this halt in production will also have a domino effect.

“They've got a lot of employees and we're trying to get them up and running as quickly as we can. And you’ve got to understand, it also impacts not just JBS, but the supply chains that supply them as well.” Littleproud said.

In Queensland JBS employs over 5,000 people all of which have been told not to work while the company tries to get on top of the attack.

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