JBS explanation for $11m ransomware payment “not good enough” – former NCSC chief

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The explanation given by meat processor JBS for paying an $11m ransomware demand was “not good enough” and “unconvincing”, the former CEO of the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) has said.

The world’s largest beef supplier was targeted in May with system-locking malware operated by Russian-speaking cybercrime group REvil.

In its statement justifying the ransomware payment at the time, JBS said its systems were already operational and it did not believe any data had been stolen.

JBS said the reason it made the payment was to prevent potential future harm to customers and because there was no guarantee the hackers wouldn’t strike again.

“To me that’s not good enough,” Ciaran Martin told Verdict during a wide-ranging interview. “Let’s take the company’s explanation at face value. They were operating fine; they weren’t at risk of extortion, so they paid $11m as some sort of insurance policy.

“What did REvil do next month? They hacked the world – Swedish Co-Ops, New Zealand schools.”

Up to 1,500 businesses worldwide were affected during a cyberattack against IT vendor Kaseya – including the payment systems at Swedish Co-Ops supermarkets and the IT networks of schools in New Zealand.

 

 

By Robert Scammell / Verdict

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