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How Arizona could be impacted by cyberattack on meat company JBS

Australia JBS Cyberattack
Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 21:11:20-04

There are concerns about the nation’s meat supply due to a cyberattack at meat processing company JBS.

Like we saw during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown that created panic buying with gas, disruption in just about any industry is a concern.

“It’s all about risk management and what we have to do is decide what is the expense of it occurring versus the expense of preventing it,” said Dr. John Haas, a cyber security professor at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

Dr. Haas said companies have to prevent these attacks with backup systems, oftentimes very expensive.

Other targets could be the economic sector, financial institutions, or even the energy sector, something that could hit us hard here in Arizona. “Everyone would suddenly not have access to their air conditioning, that would be very disruptive,” said Haas.

“We have a very short supply of what we used to call safety stock and just about the entire supply chain today and whenever there is a disruption, we've only got about three days or so worth of supply to cover ourselves for what is an otherwise ongoing demand,” said Brian Long, Director of Supply Management Research at Grand Valley State University.

Long reminds us that grocery prices were already increasing due to pent-up demand.

He admits it’s hard to tell if meat prices will rise directly because of the cyberattack, but he does predict prices will continue to increase through the year.

Long says a worker shortage is still the biggest issue throughout the supply chain.

“We can't find enough truckers. We can't find enough containers in the case of overseas shipments. The ports are all backed up right now because of inspections,” said Long.

The U.S. still has the cheapest food prices in the world. The Department of Agriculture estimates beef prices will climb 1-2% this year, poultry as much as 1.5%, and pork 2-3%.

The FBI released the following statement Wednesday about the cyberattack:

As the lead federal investigative agency fighting cyber threats, combating cybercrime is one of the FBI’s highest priorities. We have attributed the JBS attack to REvil and Sodinokibi and are working diligently to bring the threat actors to justice. We continue to focus our efforts on imposing risk and consequences and holding the responsible cyber actors accountable. Our private sector partnerships are essential to responding quickly when a cyber intrusion occurs and providing support to victims affected by our cyber adversaries. A cyber attack on one is an attack on us all. We encourage any entity that is the victim of a cyber attack to immediately notify the FBI through one of our 56 field offices.