What Does the JBS Cyberattack Mean for Businesses in Columbia, MD

Cybersecurity issues hardly get to the public's attention until a company with their details becomes a victim of the crime. However, in the past few months, a different kind of threat has taken precedence, threatening the survival of Americans.

What Does the JBS Cyberattack Mean for Businesses in Columbia, MD

Cybersecurity issues hardly get to the public’s attention until a company with their details becomes a victim of the crime. However, in the past few months, a different kind of threat has taken precedence, threatening the survival of Americans. From gas and now to meat, cybercriminals are hitting the nation and individuals where it hurts the most.

In late May 2021, JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, suffered a ransomware attack. So extensive was the cyberattack that it had the potential to disrupt the food chain around the world. In addition, it raised concerns about the potential spike in meat prices and disruption of food supply as a national security threat. The hack happened a few days after the attack on the Colonial Pipeline, affecting gas supply across the U.S. east coast.

According to Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS, the company parted with $11 million in ransom after being forced to stop operations in 13 of its plants. They made the payment in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to reduce the extent of the damage. While it was a hard decision to make, it helped mitigate further damage to the food supply chain, including grocery stores and restaurants.

Have Hackers Shifted to Global Organizations in Ransomware?

According to Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, ransomware attacks are getting worse by the day. He echoes concerns by White House officials who have held emergency meetings to work out responses to the national security threat. In response to these two threats, he says that the government must do everything possible as the attacks are becoming more severe.

For many years, companies have contended with easy-to-employ ransomware attacks using unsophisticated methods. These include phishing by sending dubious links to unsuspecting employees. Through one link, many companies became victims of cybercrime by having their computer networks locked down in exchange for a ransom.

However, their tactic seems to be changing, with their focus being large national corporations. Their strategy includes hacking software to the highest bidder through the “ransom-as-a-service (RaaS)” business model. Hackers ask for payment through cryptocurrency because it’s harder to track than fiat currency. Crypto also has fewer regulations by the government.

What Do These Attacks Mean for Your Business?

It can be tempting to think that because ransomware attacks focus on global companies, your company is safe. However, cybercriminals are at work, devising ways to attack both large and small businesses. Statistics show that since the onset of COVID-19, more businesses have been victims of hacking than ever before. 67% of small businesses have experienced an attack, while 58% have had a breach. Res

This tells you that you can’t afford to be lax about the security of your systems, as the attacks can be devastating for your business. For many small and medium enterprises, the amount hackers demand in ransom is one they can’t afford to pay up and still survive. They also may not have the capacity to recover from the devastation.

It also helps to note that the cost of a ransomware attack on a Columbia business is more than the immediate losses. It can lock down the entire business by disrupting its functionality. Your customers who rely on your business to meet their needs may not be patient enough to wait. Some of them will look for a new provider immediately. Once this happens, you may lose them altogether. Others may lack confidence in your business, fearing that their details will become compromised.

How Can You Protect Your Business?

With the increasing vulnerability of your business systems, it helps to take proactive measures to protect them. While cybersecurity solutions aren’t the ultimate protection, they can go a long way to enhance overall security. This means that your employees also need to be careful and alert to avoid putting your systems at risk, even with these measures in place.

Prioritize Compliance 

The cybersecurity industry is constantly working to improve security standards to protect users. However, the level of compliance to these standards depends on your specific industry and the type of confidential data you handle regularly. The best way to ensure compliance is to work with an experienced cybersecurity solution provider. Even as the standards shift, they will see to it that you remain compliant.

Put Up a Robust Data Backup System

You can’t afford to run your business without data backups. Your company runs on data, and losing it means that you also lose your business. Restoring it may be costly and time-consuming, and sometimes you may not get everything back. This is where a backup system comes in to help the situation.

Having a reliable backup system helps your business get back up and running in the event of an attack. Regular data backup will ensure you have updated copies of the data at all times. Remember to store the backup in a different location from the primary data source.

Create a Detailed Disaster Recovery Plan 

With the frequency of cyberattacks on both large and small businesses, it’s no longer a question of if a disaster will strike. Instead, you should ask yourself how prepared you are to respond when hackers strike. A comprehensive recovery plan will help you carry your business through a disaster. Ensure that every team member knows how to respond to maximize productivity and restoration. In the case of JBS, the company was able to restore everything even before most people knew about the attack. Such a recovery plan can restore consumers’ confidence and enable your company to retain its standing when coming out of an attack.

Final Thoughts

Given the increasing cyberattack incidents, you need to evaluate how prepared your business is for an attack. Check how well-equipped you are to respond to hacking and whether your business would remain standing.

The best way to go about this is to work with a cybersecurity expert. They will do an in-depth analysis to test your systems and identify any existing loopholes. Then, they will recommend the most suitable security solutions to protect your business. At Advantage Industries, this is our area of specialization. So contact us today to discuss and analyze your business IT needs and security.

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Keith Heilveil

In 1999 Advantage Industries was created to protect and promote our client’s success through the use of innovative technology. Our company is a full services technology firm that provides computer network support and solutions, managed services, cybersecurity, and custom application development for small and medium businesses in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia areas.

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Tim Happel

Tim Happel

Sr. Director of Sales, PMP

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