JBS' Ransomware Challenges Highlight Larger Cybersecurity Issue In Food And Retail

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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JBS' Ransomware Challenges Highlight Larger Cybersecurity Issue In Food And Retail

The ransomware attack on meat processor JBS has highlighted the larger issue of cybersecurity in retail and food and beverage, and firms should take steps to ensure that they aren't the next to be affected, GlobalData has said.

A rogue group based in Russia, REvil, was blamed for last week's attack on the meat giant, which was forced to temporarily close some of its facilities. Late last week, JBS issued a statement to say that it was back fully operational, and expects losses to have been recovered by the end of this week.

JBS isn't alone in being targeted in a ransomware attack in recent months; high-profile firms to face similar issues in the past year include Molson Coors and E & J Gallo Winery, while Colonial Pipeline, the largest US fuel pipeline operator, was another recent victim.

Effectiveness Issue

According to Ramsey Baghdadi, consumer analyst at GlobalData, this latest cyberattack should be enough to "keep CEOs awake at night", with the effectiveness of cybersecurity set to become even more in focus in the coming years.

"As industry players increasingly adopt internet of things (IoT) and cloud technology in their supply chains, the risk of a company breach also increases as it exposes more opportunity for human error and inadvertent security holes," he said.


“Not only does this lead to supply chain disruptions, but it can ultimately affect the choices of end consumers, as brand trust is pivotal in consumers purchasing decisions. Over half (57%) of consumers globally claim that their product choices are always or often influenced by how trustworthy it is, and data breaches, delays to shipments or halted production can compel consumers to look at alternative brands – particularly during sensitive times such as a pandemic.

"Therefore, businesses need to focus on cybersecurity investment in their future, since the frequency of cyberattacks is increasing exponentially."

'One Step Ahead'

While cybersecurity experts are responding to the changing landscape and continue to develop innovative solutions to keep 'one step ahead' of criminals' activities, ransomware is a difficult issue to combat.

"Cyber-aware organisations must adopt cybersecurity measures that allow them to be resilient, vigilant and secure; that keep their employees and partners identified and trusted; and allow the organisation to remain risk aware (eg. always back-up company data)," said Baghdadi.


"In general, organisations fail to understand the landscape they are trying to defend. Consequently, defensive decisions aren’t taken, and actions are not prioritised, leaving enterprises open to compromise.”

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Technology news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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