Meat supplier JBS paid hackers $ 11 million

Meat supplier JBS paid hackers $ 11 million

Signage outside the JBS Beef Production Facility in Greeley, Colorado, USA on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Michel Ciaglo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

JBS, the world’s largest beef vendor, paid ransomware hackers who violated his computer networks approximately $ 11 million, the company said on Wednesday.

The company was hacked in May by REvil, one of several Russian-speaking pirate gangs, which resulted in the shutdown of meat factories in the United States and Australia for at least a day. The news of the payment was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Like many ransomware groups, REvil has made millions in recent years by hacking organizations, encrypting their files, and demanding a fee, often a large payout in bitcoin, in return for a decryption program and a pledge. not to disclose these files to the public.

In a statement, JBS said that while it was able to get most of its systems up and running without the help of REvil, it chose to pay to protect its files.

“At the time of payment, the vast majority of the company’s facilities were operational,” the company said in an emailed statement, adding that it “has made a decision to mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack. and to ensure that no data was exfiltrated “.

The US government has long recommended that victims of ransomware not pay their attackers, although most ransomware gangs are not sanctioned entities and their payment is not illegal.

JBS CEO Andre Nogueira defended the decision to pay.

“It was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,” Nogueira said in the statement. “However, we felt that this decision should be taken to avoid any potential risk to our customers.”

The news of the JBS payment follows testimony in Congress from Joseph Blout, CEO of Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. fuel pipeline that was recently hacked by another Russian ransomware group called DarkSide. In his testimony in the Senate on Tuesday, he called the decision to pay “the right thing to do for the country”.

In an unusual gesture, the Department of Justice ad Monday that he was able to recover part of the payment Colonial sent to his hackers. The FBI declined to give details on how, however, it is not clear how often such a tactic could be deployed.

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