Meat giant JBS pays $11m in ransom to resolve cyber-attack

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The world’s largest meat processing company has paid the equivalent of $11m (£7.8m) in ransom to put an end to a major cyber-attack.

Computer networks at JBS were hacked last week, temporarily shutting down some operations in Australia, Canada and the US.

The payment was reportedly made using Bitcoin after plants had come back online.

JBS says it was necessary to pay to protect customers.

In a ransomware attack, hackers get into a computer network and threaten to cause disruption or delete files unless a ransom in cryptocurrency is paid.

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

The company added that it paid the money because of the sophistication of the attack, even though the “vast majority” of its plants remained operational.

The company was forced to halt cattle slaughtering at all of its US plants for a day.

That disruption threatened food supplies and risked higher food prices for consumers.

The White House has said that a criminal organisation “likely based in Russia” was behind the attack.

Last month, fuel delivery in the south east of the US was crippled for several days after a ransomware attack targeted the Colonial Pipeline.

Investigators say that attack was also linked to a group with ties to Russia.

Colonial Pipeline has confirmed it paid a $4.4m (£3.1m) in ransom to the cyber-criminal gang responsible.

The Justice Department has recovered some $2.3m.

JBS, a Brazil-based company, said that, “preliminary investigation results confirm that no company, customer or employee data was compromised,” in the hack on its systems.

US President Joe Biden is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva next week.

President Biden set off on his first official overseas trip with a warning to Russia that it faces “robust and meaningful” consequences if it engages in “harmful activities”.

“The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals,” A White House spokeswoman said last week.

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