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Brazilian agri-food giant GPS, the world’s largest meat producer, announced Wednesday that it had paid a $ 11 million ransom in bitcoin to hackers who attacked it.
André Nogueira, CEO of the group’s US subsidiary, said in a statement that paying the ransom “was a very painful decision for our company and me.”
“However, we felt the need to make this decision to prevent any potential risks to our customers,” he added.
The statement stated that the company paid “a ransom of $ 11 million in response to criminal hacker interference in its activities.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nogueira said the ransom was paid in the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
The statement stated that “the vast majority of the company’s businesses were operational at the time of payment,” it noted that the group had decided to pay the ransom “to avoid data leakage” and “to avoid any unexpected problems associated with the attack.”
According to the White House, the American branch of the Brazilian group notified the US authorities that it was attacked using ransomware from a “criminal organization, probably based in Russia.”
After this attack, US President Joe Biden said he did not rule out retaliation against Russia.
The cyberattack targeted the servers on which the group’s information systems depend in North America and Australia and, in particular, paralyzed the group’s operations in Australia and halted some production lines in the United States.
GPS is a beef, chicken and pork company and is one of the world’s largest food companies.
In addition to Brazil and other Latin American countries, this company is represented in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Such cyberattacks often target multinational companies around the world.
In early May, a cyberattack targeted the Colonial Pipeline, which has the largest network of fuel pipelines in the United States that transport gasoline and jet fuel from the Texas Gulf Coast to the densely populated areas of the East Coast. The company later admitted that it had paid the hackers a $ 4.4 million bitcoin ransom.
On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced that it had recovered more than half of the ransom amount from the Darkside hacker group that carried out the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline.
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