Published On: Thu, Jun 10th, 2021

Meat Company JBS Paid $11 Million Ransom to Cyberattackers

Meat producer JBS Foods paid $11 million in ransom to hackers that attacked its computers in May, the company said Wednesday.

In a press release, JBS confirmed that it paid $11 million to resolve a ransomware attack on its computer systems last month,

“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO, JBS USA. “However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”

According to the company, JBS Foods is a leading processor of beef, pork and prepared foods products in the U.S., beef in Canada and beef, pork, lamb, and prepared foods products in Australia.

JBS USA processes, prepares, packages, and delivers fresh, further-processed, and value-added beef, pork, and lamb products for sale to customers in more than 100 countries on six continents, and is also a majority shareholder of Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, the largest poultry company in North America and owner of Moy Park, a leading poultry and prepared foods company in Europe, the company’s website said.

According to the release, the “vast majority” of the company’s facilities were operational at the time the company made the payment.

It made the decision to go ahead and pay the ransom to mitigate any future issues after consulting with internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts.

The company said it maintained communications with government officials throughout the incident and a third-party forensic investigation is ongoing.

The preliminary investigation revealed that no company, customer, or employee data was compromised.

The company said it spends more than $200 million annually on its IT infrastructure and employs more than 850 IT professionals throughout the world.

The FBI blames a Russian based group of hackers for the attack.

“We have attributed the JBS attack to REvil and Sodinokibi and are working diligently to bring the threat actors to justice,” the FBI wrote in a statement last week that was published in The Hill. “We continue to focus our efforts on imposing risk and consequences and holding the responsible cyber actors accountable.”

JBS said the FBI informed them about the group.

“The FBI stated this is one of the most specialized and sophisticated cybercriminal groups in the world,” the company said in its statement. “JBS USA’s ability to quickly resolve the issues resulting from the attack was due to its cybersecurity protocols, redundant systems and encrypted backup servers.”

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