empty supermarket shelves

Major supermarkets ‘uniquely vulnerable’ as Russian cyberattacks increase

Australia’s food supply is particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, warns the director of a national cybersecurity firm, as he calls on the industry to raise its standards on the anniversary of the JBS ransomware hack.

JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat processor, was held last year by Russian hackers for $11 million as a ransom.

The cyber attack shut down the company’s global operations for five days, including several Australian slaughterhouses.

Claroty’s Australian Regional Director Lani Refiti said Australia’s entire food and drink supply chain is “uniquely vulnerable” to further attacks.

“It’s happening,” Refiti said.

“It’s not a question of ‘if’ a major attack will take place in the Australian food and drink sector, it’s a question of ‘when’.”

He said there would be food shortages if there were another incident like JBS.

Laws were passed months after the JBS hack to list food and drink as a: critical national industry

They have led to the introduction of mandatory cyber incident reporting and stricter cybersecurity obligations for assets of national importance.

But Mr Refiti said leading supermarkets, food distributors and processors are still much less safe than other industries.

“If you look at critical infrastructure like financial services, power, water — food and drink is at the bottom of the list,” he said.

Russian-backed hacking threat

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