Are Russian Hackers Threatening American Cybersecurity?

This past week, we witnessed yet another example of our country’s weak cybersecurity infrastructure, as one of the world’s largest beef suppliers got hit by a ransomware attack likely coming from a team of Russian hackers. 

JBS is one of the world’s largest international meat processors, with plants across the country producing roughly 20% of beef in the US.  

The hackers attacked JBS’s IT system, systematically shutting down several plants across North America and Australia. 

Not only did this incident put thousands of employees out of work as plants closed down, but it will also affect the price of meat over the course of the next few months. We’ve already seen the price rise due to the pandemic, with beef and veal prices up 3.3% from April 2020 (Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis).

The attack that affected all of JBS’s US meatpacking facilities, forcing them to put almost a full stop to production is classified as a ransomware attack. 

But what is Ransomware? 

In this kind of attack, hackers will steal an organization’s data and then lock their computers. Without access to their network, the organization then has to pay to regain access and prevent sensitive information from being leaked.  

The White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement saying: “we’re assessing any impacts on supply, and the president has directed the administration to determine what we can do to mitigate any impacts as they may become necessary”.

While the government claims to be taking preventative measures, it’s clear that this wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last attack on our country’s cyberspace.  

This ransomware attack was likely carried out by a Russian-based criminal organization, falling in line with similar occurrences of ransomware cyberattacks that have occurred in the past year.   

This hack comes only 4 weeks after the Russian criminal attack on the Colonial Pipeline… forcing a six-day shutdown on one of the US’s largest fuel pipelines, resulting in gas shortages and price increases across the east.   

It’s clear these two events are not an abnormality…

Over the course of the last year, approximately 2,400 US companies were victims of ransomware attacks; and there were several hundred major cyberattacks that took place against various businesses across the world.   

And even now we are seeing ransomware attacks on ferry services like the Steamship Authority of Massachusetts, which runs ferry services from the mainland of Massachusetts to islands like Martha’s Vineyard.  

The White House continues to feed us the same automated response when this clearly isn’t the last case of a breach in cybersecurity we are going to witness… when are they finally going to take action?

The likely answer is who knows anymore

This begs the question: are we safe? Is our information on the internet even being protected? 

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One Thought to “Are Russian Hackers Threatening American Cybersecurity?”

  1. Rick Knight

    I think US hackers are more of a threat than Russian.

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