The company said in a statement yesterday (31 May) its servers supporting the company’s North American and Australian IT systems were targeted on Sunday. JBS insisted it took “immediate action” by suspending the systems, notifying the US authorities and “activating the company’s global network of IT professionals and third-party experts to resolve the situation”.

The statement read: “The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an incident response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible.

JBS added it is “not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation”.

The company said: “Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”

UK newspaper The Daily Mail reported Australian agriculture minister David Littleproud as saying the federal government was working with JBS to get its Australian abattoirs functioning again, and to limit effects on domestic supply and export markets.

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Littleproud added it was too soon to say who might be behind the attack: “The technology they use goes to the heart of the quality assurance of the beef they are processing,” he told Australian radio station ABC. “They [JBS] are obviously working with law enforcement agencies here in Australia and we’re working in partnership with other countries to get to the bottom of this.

“Since it is a global attack, it’s important not to speculate that it’s emanated from any particular place, just yet.”