World's largest meat company JBS 'paid $11MILLION ransom to hackers' who crippled US food industry

World's largest meat company JBS 'paid $11MILLION ransom to hackers' who crippled US food industry


THE world's largest meat company JBS reportedly paid $11million in ransom to hackers who last week crippled their systems.

CEO Andre Nogueira on Wednesday said the payment was made in bitcoin, adding: "It was very painful to pay the criminals, but we did the right thing for our customers."

Nogueira told The Wall Street Journal: "We didn’t think we could take this type of risk that something could go wrong in our recovery process.

"It was insurance to protect our customers."

The payment was negotiated by external advisers and made after the majority of plants were operating again, Nogueira added.

The company suffered a cyber breach affecting working shifts for beef and pork plants located in Ottumwa, Iowa; Worthington, Minnesota; Cactus, Texas; and Greeley, Colorado, on May 30.

Nogueira said the company first became aware of the attack following a message demanding a ransom. It is not known when the payment was made.

The company then began working to stop the hackers' attack, Nogueira said. It is not known how they were able to access their systems, he added.

A Russia-linked hacking group that goes by the name of REvil and Sodinokibi was behind the cyberattack against JBS SA, according to Reuters.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had on Sunday warned against paying ransoms to hacking groups because doing so incentivizes future attacks.

"Whether you're private or public sector, you shouldn't be paying ransomware attacks because it only encourages the bad guys," she said.

The JBS cyberattack followed one last month by a group with ties to Russia on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, which crippled fuel delivery for several days in the US Southeast.

It was reported on Monday that Feds had recovered $2.3million of the Bitcoin ransom paid to the Colonial Pipeline hackers DarkSide.

Colonial said it paid hackers nearly $5million after the system disruption led to panic buying and a gas shortage along much of the East Coast last month.

The FBI identified DarkSide, a Russia-based cybercrime group, as the culprit behind the hacking.

CEO of Colonial Pipeline Joseph Blount said on Wednesday: "The FBI never recommended that we not pay. Think about what we would look like if we didn’t bring the pipeline back on until the following week."

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that Joe Biden's administration is looking at "all of the options" to defend the country against ransomware criminals.

She said the issue will be pressed when the president meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month.

"We're not taking anything off the table as we think about possible repercussions, consequences or retaliation," Raimondo said.

The White House has warned corporate executives and business leaders to step up security measures to protect against ransomware attacks.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Joe Biden will give Vladimir Putin a "direct" warning about the recent spate of cyberattacks against the US when they meet next week

According to Blinken, Biden will tell Putin "directly and clearly" that if the ransomware attacks on US interests continue then he should expect Washington to retaliate.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in either breach, insisting the groups were lone actors.

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