Meat processing giant JBS pays out €9m cyberattack ransom

Company was forced to stop all cattle slaughtering as shutdown threateend to disrupt international food supply chains
Meat processing giant JBS pays out €9m cyberattack ransom

Brazilian-headquartered JBS, the world's largest producer and exporter of beef, paid over the ransom after criminals attacked its computer systems. File Photo: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty

JBS, the world’s biggest meat processor, has paid an $11m (€9m) ransom after a cyberattack shut down operations, including abattoirs in the US, Australia, and Canada.

While most of its operations have been restored, the Brazilian-headquartered company said it hoped the payment would head off any further complications including data theft.

JBS, which supplies more than a fifth of all beef in the US, reportedly made the payment in bitcoin.

“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said JBS’s chief executive, Andre Nogueira. 

However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers. 

The meat producer was forced to stop all cattle slaughtering at its US plants for a day last week, in a move that threatened to disrupt food supply chains and lead to further food price inflation in the US, where labour shortages, high demand and Covid-related disruptions are taking their toll.

JBS, which spends more than $200m on IT and employs more than 850 tech specialists, said the FBI described the cybercriminal group that carried out the attack as “one of the most specialised and sophisticated” in the world. 

White House officials said last week the criminal organisation responsible was probably based in Russia.

• Guardian Service

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