JBS paid US$11m in ransom to resolve meatplant cyberattack

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – JBS USA said it paid US$11 million in ransom to the criminals responsible for the cyberattack that disrupted operations across North America and Australia.

“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” JBS USA Chief Executive Officer Andre Nogueira said in a statement. “However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”

The attack on May 30 forced the world’s largest meat producer to shut down all of its beef plants in the United States, accounting for almost a quarter of American supplies. It also halted slaughter operations across Australia and idled one of Canada’s largest beef plants. The FBI has attributed the incident to REvil, a hacking group that researchers say has links to Russia.

The global shutdowns upended agricultural markets and raised concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. Operations have returned to normal levels and the company expected lost production to be fully recovered by the end of this week.

In its latest statement, JBS said the vast majority of the company’s facilities were operational at the time of payment. It had made the decision to “mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated” in consultation with internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts.

JBS added it has maintained constant communications with government officials throughout the incident, and that third-party forensic investigations are still ongoing.