Meatpacker JBS USA paid a ransom equivalent to $11 million (£7.79 million) following a cyberattack that disrupted its North American and Australian operations, the company’s CEO said in a statement on Wednesday.
The subsidiary of Brazilian firm JBS SA halted cattle slaughtering at all of its US plants for a day last week in response to the cyberattack, which threatened to disrupt food supply chains and further inflate already high food prices.
The cyberattack followed one last month on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States. It disrupted fuel delivery for several days in the US Southeast.
Ransom software works by encrypting victims’ data. Typically hackers will offer the victim a key in return for cryptocurrency payments that can run into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The FBI said earlier this month that the agency was investigating about 100 different types of ransomware.
The JBS meat plants, producing nearly a quarter of America’s beef, recovered faster than some meat buyers and analysts expected.
“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA on the ransom payment. “However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”
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