Food processing company JBS Foods has confirmed it has paid an $11m million ransom payment to end a ransomware cyberattack on its global operations.
According to ABC, the company claimed it paid the money to a criminal gang to end what was a five-day long cyberattack. The ransom was paid in Bitcoin.
The shutdown of operations due to the attack impacted Australia’s meat supply chain and led to the temporary lay-off of some staff at some of the company’s plants. Some farmers also saw their livestock shipments cancelled. However, the attack and shutdown was not found to have affected livestock prices.
The company released a statement that highlighted the FBI’s assessment of the gang was that it was ‘one of the most specialised and sophisticated cybercriminal groups in the world’.
A day after the attack, the US confirmed that the cyberattack was a ransomware attack likely coordinated by a Russian group.
JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira said, “This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally. However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”
Australian analyst and top national security figure Matt Dalgleish also warned that the threat of a cyberattack that could bring down infrastructure like a national electricity network is ‘immediate’ and ‘realistic’.
He also emphasised that the rise of cryptocurrency is a key reason why this kind of cyberattack is happening more frequently.
He said, “In the past, it was much harder to get the money paid, whether it was in cash or into an account. Whereas now, with limited traceability, we’re seeing a big growth in this style of ransomware attack.”
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