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White House: Biden to Discuss Cyberattack on Meat Producer With Russia's Putin

A JBS meatpacking plant is seen in Plainwell, Michigan, June 2, 2021.
A JBS meatpacking plant is seen in Plainwell, Michigan, June 2, 2021.

U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month the harboring of cyber attackers like those believed to have targeted meatpacking giant JBS, the White House said Wednesday.

Press secretary Jen Psaki also told reporters at the White House that Biden “has launched a rapid strategic review” of the attack that affected JBS operations in Australia and North America.

Biden will meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva on June 16 as tensions between the two world powers have escalated over election meddling, human rights and Russian aggression toward Ukraine.

A U.S. subsidiary of the Brazilian meat processor told the U.S. government it received a ransom demand in the cyberattack it believes originated in Russia, deputy White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

“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,” Jean-Pierre said.

JBS, meanwhile, says it has made “significant progress” in resolving a cyberattack that affected its operations in North America and Australia.

JBS USA’s CEO, Andre Nogueira, said he expected “the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry and prepared food plants” to be operational Wednesday.

“Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat. We have cybersecurity plans in place to address these types of issues and we are successfully executing those plans,” Nogueira said in a statement.

JBS said its Canadian beef facility had already resumed production, and that the attack did not impact its operations in Mexico or Britain.

The company also said it was not aware of customer, supplier or employee data being compromised.

“I want to personally thank the White House, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Australian and Canadian governments for their assistance over the last two days,” Nogueira said.

Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said plants in New South Wales and Victoria states were back operating on a limited basis Wednesday, and that JBS hoped to resume work in Queensland state on Thursday.

Littleproud also said Australian officials would be meeting Wednesday with U.S. officials to discuss the situation.

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