Brazil, Vladimir Putin, Forty Two Deaths discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now


From npr in wbz. Are i'm tanya moseley. And i'm peter o'dowd this is here now. The world's largest meat processor says it is coming back online today after it was hit by a cyber attack over the weekend. J. b. s. is based in brazil. But the hack targeted. The company's operations in australia canada and the united states according to one estimate going off line even for one day can us beef processing by a quarter white house. Says this is a ransomware attack. Russians are suspected. And if that sounds familiar it is the ransomware attack on the colonial pipeline happened less than a month ago. King is director of the science and technology innovation. Program at the wilson center meg. Welcome thank you and what do we know about what has happened so far. Jbs so the time line goes a little bit like this on sunday in the middle of a holiday weekend in the us which is typical for these groups They know to target us when we're not looking or we'd like to not be looking a major meat producer in the us that was as you mentioned part of an international conglomerate Reported that and discover that a cyber attack was being carried out on some of its servers the department of homeland security has said that it was alerted on monday and started providing technical assistance and the white house. As you mentioned has also confirmed that this was a ransomware attack yesterday so we know that there is a disruption and that the company has said that they have backup servers so that they have data. they can hopefully recover. But the problem here is not that it's just decryption of data and resuming services. It's that there's a risk here that data might be either hijacked or public if ransom demands aren't met So if you're a lay person just sort of casually paying attention to the news. This is starting to sound familiar. There's a trend here right. I mean have you been able to quantify or figure out just how common attacks like these are becoming sadly yes and the food processing industry is a big and soft target so there are new reports coming out that last year somewhere in the range of forty ransomware attacks were carried out against food processors and so This is really a business until we break that business model until we make it so that either companies are able to resume processes and have their data secure without having to pay the ransom or we find other ways to provide support funds to victims. Who pay ransoms. Or if we address the the crypto currencies that are used to make the payments possible unless we ask countries like russia to crack down on those who are carrying out these attacks within their borders. Then this is just going to go on. We've covered a tax on hospitals. That are with covid patients. There's been a tax on schools. Of course an important fuel pipeline. Now this food supplier our critical infrastructure like that more likely to be targeted than say just a random business down the street. These criminal groups are clever. They know who has money who is able to pay who can't afford not to pay to resume services that people need like food processing. I think that if they have a lot of money a particular critical infrastructure provider like this food processors make billions of dollars then they probably will continue to be attacked unless there are other measures that are put in place to prevent this. The biden administration waited a few days to respond to the colonial pipeline attack. But it seems to be kind of jumping right into the fray here with this one. What do you think the right way to respond is well. They had to the timing of a second attack. Basically within the same month that americans feel physically both through fuel and food had to have a. Us response is strong. Us response they are. We have taken the lead in investigating this around the world. Australia has acknowledged that there is also very important. Summit coming up between president biden and vladimir putin and i am quite sure that this will be part of the conversation. But what can we really do aside from just sort of puffer chest up a little bit you know. Because if companies are victim of one of these attacks like they don't have a lot of choice do they. They either pay the ransom or else suffer the consequences. Well i think you have to take a couple of steps back there. Preventative measures to take. We don't know exactly how the ransomware was able to penetrate the system. Originally a jbs. What kind of vulnerabilities weren't patched. We talk about security software patches what Parts of the network were not even identified. I mean this is part of the problem with critical infrastructure providers. They don't even know because of how these networks and built what's on their system necessarily or or how far their system extends in the meat processing field apparently they use these supervisory control and data systems that help with processing it similar kind of tool. That's used in energy as we saw in the colonial pipeline so you need to have strong awareness of what's on your network and how to secure it from the first place and the government is working on that with a number of providers the problem is scale and getting to all those providers. The second thing you can do is. There are a lot of private sector companies who have sought out cybersecurity insurance and this is both a positive and a negative in the positive. Some companies have protection so that if they have to pay a ransom they will be reimbursed. The problem is because ransoms are getting so expensive. Some companies are now stepping back from providing cyber insurance so asa has just released a statement saying that they won't repay french companies for ransom and so that's kind of sad chain of events. Moog king is director of the science and technology innovation program at the wilson center. Thank you thank you and now. Let's go to michigan. Where just a month ago we were sharing the story of the state experiencing the worst spreads of covert nineteen in the country more than two thousand five hundred new cases in forty two deaths in a single day. Well today. we're sharing another story. Cases are plummeting and the state is experiencing its first full day of a partial reopening. No more restaurant curfews concerts and other outdoor events can now go on as usual and people can actually meet each other indoors at fifty percent capacity. How did michigan get here. Let's bring in dr abdul el-sayed. He's a michigan epidemiologist and detroit's former health director. And dr welcome back. The last time we spoke michigan was in dire straits cases. Surging hospitals at capacity. How your state turn this around tania. Thank you so much for having me and it really is a great day. There was a push to tie reopening to vaccine writes in matt wimmer administration called the my vacs to normal plan. And what this did is it. Conditioned what michiganders' could do and what a public facing institutions could do based on how much vaccination coverage We've had and thankfully michiganders' i think answered the call. They decided that getting that vaccine was worth being able to go. Fill up the ballpark. Were enjoy time at a restaurant past eleven pm so michigan has got vaccinated and you know all it shows us. Is that vaccines work. And when our public policy compliments vaccines and reinforces the need and the possibility a vaccination for getting past this pandemic. That good things can happen in. So i'm really grateful that they're happening here in michigan okay. Let's talk a little bit more about the reopenings. Michigan is taking a phased approach. We mentioned some of the facets of this first phase which started yesterday but we noticed that the the mask mandate remains in place. So it's a. It's a cautious reopening. Tell us more about that. At and you say that you know michiganders' answered the call by getting vaccinated. But i can imagine the excitement of many residents. This is kind of return to some kind of new normal. That's right tonya. Will what we know is that per. The cdc guidelines people who are vaccinated can go into spaces indoor or outdoor without without having to wear a mask but for everyone else. A mask is still the most important thing you can do. Short of a vaccine to protect yourself from the.

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