The attack forced the meat producer to close some plants, raising concerns about potential meat shortages.
One of America’s largest meat producers paid an $11 million ransom to cybercriminals responsible for temporarily closing processing plants last week, the company said on Wednesday.
JBS USA pays to avoid further disruption in production and limit the impact on restaurants, grocery stores and farmers, said Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of the US division of Brazilian meat company JBS SA.
“This was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,” Nogueira said in a statement. “However, we felt that this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk to our customers.”
JBS was paid in bitcoin, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported the payment on Wednesday.
Following the hack, JBS reportedly had to halt operations at five of its largest beef plants in the US, as well as some other facilities, raising concerns about potential meat shortages. The five plants together reportedly process 22,500 cattle per day. Some plants in Australia were also reportedly affected.
The attack comes just weeks after hackers targeted Colonial Pipeline, one of America’s largest gas pipelines, with a ransomware hack. The attack exposed a vulnerability in the country’s critical infrastructure, which has been the target of a growing number of cyber attacks.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier this month that JBS has informed US officials that its servers in the US and Australia have been the victim of a ransomware attack launched by a criminal group based in Russia. .
“The results of the preliminary investigation confirm that no company, customer or employee data was compromised,” JBS said in a Wednesday statement.
Jean-Pierre said the FBI was investigating the incident and the White House was in talks with the Russian government. Biden is expected to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the June 16 summit.