- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The White House said Tuesday the Department of Agriculture is offering assistance to JBS after the major meat producer reported a cyberattack and ransom demand Sunday from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.

“The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy White House press secretary, told reporters traveling with President Biden to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ms. Jean-Pierre said the administration is providing technical assistance and any help that could mitigate the fallout.

The company was forced to close slaughterhouse operations that account for a sizable share of the U.S. beef and pork supply.

The attack on a major meat supplier comes weeks after a similar attack on the Colonial Pipeline that caused gasoline shortages in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic.

The White House said Mr. Biden is looking to shore up cyberinfrastructure defenses, work with allies to hold countries accountable if they shield ransom-seeking hackers and root out perpetrators who use cryptocurrency.

JBS said it took immediate action after the attack on North American and Australian IT network by shutting down systems, notifying authorities and bringing in third-party experts. The company said its backup servers were not affected.

“The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation,” JBS said. “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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