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JBS cyberattack highlights need for change in cybersecurity infrastructure

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The meat processing company JBS USA has resumed most production at their facilities following a cyberattack over the Memorial Day weekend.

Experts say the attack and other cyberattacks on infrastructure like the one against the Colonial Pipeline Company have many now also questioning the current state of cybersecurity.

According to Katie Shuck, a Cyber Intelligence Analyst for Dakota State University, cyberattacks like the one at JBS continue to increase. She says there is a ransomware attack each week somewhere in the world.

“Cyber Security is essential for every business especially anyone that deals with food or any sort of critical infrastructure,” said Shuck.

Shuck says any person or company that uses the internet can be attacked, so there is always a need for cyber intelligence experts.

“There’s a huge shortage in cybersecurity workers, anywhere in the United States and around the world,” said Shuck. “We need more cybersecurity workers who can come in and work on the technical side of these attacks and prevent them and working on the policies and procedures.”

DSU offers several cybersecurity programs. The University is also working with several businesses in South Dakota to find ways to stop cyberattacks from happening to them.

“We are working with those individuals and organizations to identify attacks, as well as to help access what tactics can be used by organizations to prevent those attacks,” said Shuck.

The JBS attack has some worried about what could happen if attacks like this happen again to key food suppliers.

“I think that one of the things that this reminds us about is the vulnerability of our food supply chain and how important it is we diversify that and add capacity,” said Senator John Thune.

Some experts are warning that the stoppage at JBS facilities could cause consumers to see beef and pork shortages or higher prices on the products.

The Department of Agriculture is now asking other meat processors to temporarily increase their capacities.

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