On Tuesday, the White House disclosed that JBS, a meat processing company, was a victim of a ransomware attack that the Biden administration has said came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. Following the attack, JBS closed nine of its US beef processing plants, but the company plans to restore operations on Wednesday and has told employees to return to work. Senior officials in the US and Russia have been in contact about the attack.
Whee Biden was asked on Wednesday afternoon whether the US would retaliate against Russia for the attack, he told reporters, “We’re looking closely at that issue.” As to whether he thought Putin was testing him, the President plainly said: “No.”
Psaki said during Wednesday’s briefing that Biden “certainly thinks that President Putin and the Russian government certainly has a role to play.” But Psaki wouldn’t weigh in on whether the administration believes Putin is attempting to test Biden before the summit in two weeks.
“I’m not going to give any further analysis on that. Other than to tell you that our view is that when there are criminal entities within a country, they certainly have a responsibility and it is a role that the government can play,” she responded.
The White House was unable to confirm whether JBS paid a ransom.
In the wake of the JBS attack, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned that any organization can be affected by ransomware “in any sector of the economy.”
“As this and other recent incidents demonstrate, the threat of ransomware continues to be severe. Ransomware can affect any organization in any sector of the economy. All organizations should urgently review our available resources and implement best practices to protect their networks from these types of threats,” Eric Goldstein, the executive assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, said in a statement.