, JBS Paid $11 Million In Ransom After Cyberattack, CEO Says, The Nzuchi News Forbes

JBS Paid $11 Million In Ransom After Cyberattack, CEO Says

Topline

Meat supplier JBS offered up $11 million to resolve a brutal ransomware attack that paralyzed many of the company’s U.S. facilities last week, the CEO told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, the latest big company to agree to pay ransom to hackers.

Key Facts

JBS U.S. CEO Andre Nogueira said the company paid out $11 million in bitcoin after most of its facilities had already recovered from the cyberattack late last week.

He cast the payment as “insurance to protect our customers,” in case JBS failed to recover its data from backup servers or the same criminals tried to strike again.

, JBS Paid $11 Million In Ransom After Cyberattack, CEO Says, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Crucial Quote

“It was very painful to pay the criminals, but we did the right thing for our customers,” Nogueira told the Journal.

Key Background

More than a week ago, Brazil-based JBS announced cybercriminals had compromised its U.S. and Australian IT systems. The attack forced JBS — which is the world’s largest meat producer — to shutter many of its U.S. facilities, temporarily taking 20% of the country’s beef production capacity offline, though the company fully reopened days later. The FBI has blamed the cyberattack on REvil, a Russian-speaking collective believed to be based in a former Soviet state.

Surprising Fact

Colonial Pipeline also paid $4.4 million in ransom last month, after a cyberattack forced the company to shut down a pipeline that carries 45% of the East Coast’s gasoline supplies, causing days of scattered fuel shortages and panic-buying. Colonial CEO Joseph Blount told the Journal he was uncomfortable with paying the ransom, but he felt it was “the right thing to do for the country.”

Tangent

Paying out ransom to cybercriminals is a controversial tactic. Some experts warn that rewarding hackers for their efforts could embolden them to carry out future attacks, though executives like Blount and Nogueira have framed these ransom payments as their only safe option. After the Colonial Pipeline hack last month, the Biden administration said it defers to private companies’ judgement on whether to pay ransom.

Further Reading

JBS Paid $11 Million to Resolve Ransomware Attack (Wall Street Journal)

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