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The world’s largest meat processing company says it paid out $ 11 million – just over C $ 13 million – to hackers who hacked into its computer system late last month.
Brazilian company JBS SA announced on May 31 that he was the victim of a ransomware attack, but on Wednesday, the company’s US division confirmed for the first time that it had paid the ransom.
“It was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,” said André Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA. “However, we felt that this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk to our customers.”
JBS said the vast majority of its facilities were in working order at the time the payment was made, but decided to pay to avoid any unforeseen problems and to ensure that no data was retrieved.
The FBI attributes the attack to REvil, a Russian-speaking gang that has made some of the biggest ransomware demands in recent months. The FBI said it would work to bring the group to justice and urged anyone who falls victim to the cyberattack to contact the bureau immediately.
The attack targeted servers supporting JBS’s operations in North America and Australia. Production was stopped for several days.
Beef plant in Alberta closed briefly
JBS Canada’s Alberta beef processing facility resumed production on June 2 following a shift canceled following a cyberattack. JBS Canada’s Brooks, Alta facility employs over 2,800 people.
Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice announced that it had recovered most of the multi-million dollar ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline operator in the United States.
In early May, Colonial paid a ransom of 75 bitcoins – then worth $ 4.4 million – to a Russian hacker group. The cryptocurrency hijacking operation has reflected a rare victory in the fight against ransomware as US officials struggle to counter a rapidly growing threat targeting critical industries around the world.
It wasn’t immediately clear if JBS paid its ransom in bitcoin.
JBS said it spends over $ 200 million annually on IT and employs over 850 IT professionals worldwide.
The company said the forensic investigation is still ongoing, but does not believe that the data of any company, customers or employees has been compromised.
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