Ag and Cybersecurity
The recent high-profile cyberhacking events against the giant JBS meatpacking corporation and Colonial Pipeline have raised levels of urgency with agriculture officials across the southeast and nationwide.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told a senate hearing the agriculture industry is vulnerable to cyberhacking but there is work being done to shore up defenses.
Vilsack: “ The first order of business is to make sure everyone in the food industry and food business understands the steps that they need to take to harden their systems. We’re going to convene food groups to make sure they essentially understand and appreciate precisely what is required. Secondly, we’ll be more than happy to cooperate with any legal investigation.”
Specifically, on the subject of the JBS ransomware attack, Vilsack said that one attack can cause widespread and devastating impacts on the food supply chain due to the concentration of the meatpacking industry in very few companies. He said the USDA is going to come up with a very creative way to significantly expand processing capacity in this country.
A group believed to be the “REvil” cyber gang hit several JBS servers supporting North American and Australian IT systems over Memorial Day weekend. According to Threat Post, experts believe that the attack on JBS could have had a ripple effect and could have a downstream effect on the food supply chain in Australia and globally had it not been resolved quickly. The company paid $11 million to gain control of its systems again.