John Anthony Smith: Huge Meat Producer Is Latest To Be Under Attack From Cyber Villains

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(John Anthony Smith, president of the fast-growing Conversant Group on the Southside, advises on Internet security after recent attacks by cyber gangs – first on a U.S. pipeline company and now a huge beef producer.)

 Just weeks after attackers shut down Colonial Pipeline, JBS, the second largest meat producer of beef, pork, and chicken in the U.S., is experiencing disrupted production due to a recent ransomware attack.


Unfortunately, the world has changed and threat actors are far more sophisticated than they once were.  In many cases, the capabilities of the threat actors are outpacing those of the defenders.  Conversant Group regularly aids companies, like JBS, in recovery from ransomware and other types of cyber events.  It absolutely breaks my heart to see companies and their customers suffer from these heinous crimes.  

A JBS shutdown, even for one day, would be equivalent to the loss of 25 percent of the U.S.’s beef processing capacity.  Any necessary shutdown, or delayed production, will result in increased prices.  While the threat actors get rich, their actions compound suffering for low income communities.

It seems, based on public statements, that JBS has protected its ability to recover; however, the ability to recover still, often, doesn’t translate to instant or rapid recovery.  We, at Conversant Group, are devoted to defending companies from these types of crimes, and our hope is to save as many as possible from this suffering.  Defense is always less expensive than recovery.  


Our prayers are with the IT and third party recovery and forensics teams as they work endlessly to get their systems back online.  We know, first hand, the toll the recovery from these events take on the IT staff involved.  We are sure there are many people not sleeping tonight while they put this environment back together.

As business leaders, we must evolve our defenses and continually attempt to outpace the attackers.


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