A recent ransomware attack on the world’s biggest meatpacker is raising questions about cybersecurity in the food industry and about whether the industry is so concentrated in a few hands it is more vulnerable to sudden shocks.
The company, Brazil-based JBS, is a giant in the meat industry, with operations all over the world. The attack forced it to shut down several plants in the U.S. and Australia, which briefly rattled beef markets. But the plants soon came back online, and JBS downplayed the impact, saying it lost less than a day’s worth of production. The company admitted it had paid $11 million in ransom to the hackers.