$11 Million Ransom Paid in Bitcoin By World’s Largest Meat Producer

June 12, 2021, 6:30 PM AEST (updated June 15, 2021)

JBS SA – a Brazilian company that processes meat largely sourced from Australia in order to sell it in the Americas and Europe – paid a ransom of $11 million worth of BTC to cybercriminals in order to stave off future attacks.

The cyberattack was identified on May 30 and caused about a full work day’s worth of damages across all plants. However, the company’s encrypted servers were not affected, allowing them to ramp production back up without too much of a hassle.

JBS SA in Brazil [source]

‘It Was Very Painful to Pay the Criminals’

Andre Nogueira, CEO of the company’s US division, JBS USA Holdings, said JBS SA decided to pay the ransom in order to prevent more attacks like those that knocked out its plants last week.

It was very painful to pay the criminals, but we did the right thing for our customers.

Andre Noguiera, CEO, JBS USA

However, he also stated that the payment was made only after functionality was restored to most of the processing plants with the aid of encrypted backup systems.

In order to make up for lost time, some of the processing plants scheduled 10-hour shifts – including weekends. By June 10, all JBS plants were reported to be functioning normally.

Cyber Security Needs Improving

Following the attack, lawmakers in US states reliant on agriculture have spoken out about the need to overhaul practices in the industry, claiming antiquated procedures leave the door open to attacks like these.

This problem affects multiple industries, though – the bad actors who shut down a major US gas pipeline last month were most likely able to gain access due to obsolete cybersecurity measures.

Every hack that is successfully paid off with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers to try more cyberattacks.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren

Last year, Aussie TV stations were taken down by bad actors demanding BTC as a ransom, and new malware known as Egregor has been making the rounds of companies in the gaming industry.

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