It’s been a hell of a year for global supply chains. First, a big ship got stuck in the Suez Canal; then prices for commodities such as lumber surged as a result of the demand for new housing; and then a cyberattack cut off the East Coast’s gasoline supply. Now it looks like there could be a meat shortage in the United States thanks to another cyberattack, this time on a Brazilian beef firm.
On Sunday, the largest beef producer in the world, JBS S.A., was targeted in a cyberattack that has closed many of its massive slaughterhouses, including five in the U.S., which process some 22,500 cattle every day. As Bloomberg states, it’s not yet known how many plants around the world have been shut down from the attack, although slaughter operations have been “paralyzed” in Australia, according to one trade group. Canada’s largest beef facility has also been offline for two days. As they deal with the attack, JBS has suspended its computer systems in North America and Australia, meaning that a full 23 percent of the American beef-producing industry is on pause. JBS reports that the attack hit its information-technology servers but did not state if its operational technology was impacted, which would be a significantly worse breach. Livestock futures dipped on Tuesday as a consequence of the hack.