GREELEY, Colorado: JBS USA, part of a worldwide meatpacking company, reportedly paid an $11 million ransom to criminals who attacked and disrupted its North American and Australian operations, the company's CEO said this week.
The impact of the cyberattack resulted in JBS halting cattle slaughtering at its U.S. plants for one day last week and could have disrupted food supply chains and inflated current high food prices.
A cyberattack occurs when software introduced by criminals encrypts a victims' data. Hackers will offer to sell the victim a key in return for payments of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
The FBI is currently investigating some 100 ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses.
JBS, which manufactures about one quarter of the beef in the United States, recovered faster from the cyberattack than some meat buyers and analysts expected.
"This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally," said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, regarding the ransom payment. "However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers," as quoted by Reuters.
Officials believe that a Russia-linked hacking group carried out the cyberattack against JBS.