Meat company JBS has admitted it paid “hackers” a ransom of $11 million (nine million euros) after a cyber attack that shut down all of its beef plants in the United States.
GPS, whose parent company is located in Brazil, said in a statement that the payment was made once the facilities were restored to work to prevent further damage.
It was paid in cryptocurrency and according to the FBI, those responsible for the cyber attack are a Russia-based hacking group known as REvil.
“This was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA.
He justified this by saying: “However (…) we felt that this decision should be taken to avoid any potential risks to our customers.”
JBS is responsible for 20% of beef and pork production in the United States The closure of its factories raised fears that it could affect distribution, but the company was quickly able to get it up and running.
The attack on JBS, which occurred last week, came just days after another organization, DarkSide, carried out a similar cyber attack against Colonial Pipeline, the country’s largest pipeline network.
In the case of Colonial, whose attack caused serious problems in the US gas supply, the company paid Darkside $4.3 million in bitcoin in order to regain control of its computer systems.
However, this week the Department of Justice announced that it was able to identify and recover $2.3 million of that ransom.