The world’s largest meat processing company has paid a ransom worth $ 11million (£ 7.8million) to hackers behind a cyber attack on its computer systems.
JBS – which produces nearly a quarter of America’s beef – confirmed it turned over the funds on Wednesday.
It comes after the Brazil-based company revealed on May 31 how its network had been targeted.
The FBI attributed the ransomware attack to a Russian-speaking gang, REvil, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
JBS USA Managing Director Andre Nogueira said agreeing to pay the ransom was “a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally.”
“However, we felt that this decision should be taken to avoid any potential risk to our customers,” he added.
The vast majority of the meat giant’s facilities were operational by the time the ransom was paid, JBS said.
But bosses decided to respond to requests to avoid any unforeseen issues and to ensure that no data was exfiltrated.
The hackers targeted servers supporting JBS operations in North America and Australia, disrupting production for several days.
The company halted the slaughter of cattle at all of its US factories for a day last week.
The ransom was paid in Bitcoin, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
It follows the operator of the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, Colonial Pipeline, which paid a ransom of 75 bitcoins – then valued at $ 4.4million (£ 3.1million) – to hackers Russian IT systems in May.
This week, the US Department of Justice announced he got most of the payment back, in what has been described as a rare victory in the battle against ransomware.
JBS, which employs 850 computer scientists worldwide, said forensic investigations are ongoing – but they don’t believe any company, customer or employee data has been compromised.
The FBI revealed earlier this month how it was investigating around 100 different types of ransomware.
The ransomware encrypts the data of victims – hackers typically offering a key in exchange for cryptocurrency payments of up to millions of dollars.