The world’s largest meat processing company said Wednesday it had paid a $ 11 million ransom for cybercriminals after beingcattle slaughter operations in 13 of its meat processing plants. JBS confirmed the payment in a statement after a cyber attack attributed to the Russian-speaking ransomware gang REvil.
The company eventually paid the buyout in bitcoin cryptocurrency to prevent further disruptions to the meat plant, mitigating potential damage to food supplies – including restaurants, grocery stores and farmers who rely on JBS production.
“It was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,”
In a statement, the company stated that “most of the company’s facilities were in operation” at the time of payment. The decision was made in consultation with in-house IT specialists and cybersecurity experts, in an attempt to ensure that no information is extracted from cybercriminals.
In a statement last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified the participants in the threat, known as “REvil” or “Sodinokibi”.
“As a leading federal investigative agency that fights cyber threats, the fight against cybercrime is one of the FBI’s top priorities,” the agency said. “We continue to focus our efforts on imposing risk and consequences and forcing responsible cyber actors.
JBS first learned of the cyber attack on Sunday on Remembrance Day over the weekend.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that President Biden would “100%” provoke cyberattacks in his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “All ransomware attacks are crimes,” Sullivan added. “They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and every responsible nation must take action against criminals.”
Mr Biden is due to hold talks with Putin on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of his first trip abroad as president.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland warned on Wednesday that ransomware attacks were “deepening and worsening,” reiterating concerns from White House officials who are holding emergency meetings to consider responses to the national security threat.
“We must do everything possible here,” Garland told lawmakers during a Senate hearing on the Justice Department’s fiscal budget for 2022. “This is a very, very serious threat.”
Last month, cybercriminals turned to the computer networks of Colonial Pipeline, the largest gas pipeline operator in America, responsible for delivering 45% of fuel along the East Coast. The ransomware attack sparked a panicked buyout that led to fuel shortages in a handful of countries in Southeast Europe. Colonial later admitted that it had paid $ 4.4 million to Russian criminals known as “DarkSide” to gain access to its computer network. On Monday, the Ministry of Justice revealed that there wasmost of the buyout for bitcoin, valued at $ 2.3 million.
For years, companies have struggled with easy-to-use ransomware attacks. Crime actors often use indescribable methods, such as phishing, to send employees emails with suspicious links. With one click, unknown employees can lose the company’s security by allowing cybercriminals to lock down computer networks in exchange for a ransom.
Cybercrime gangs are increasingly selling their services or hacking the highest-priced software through a business model called “ransomware-as-aa-service” – known as RaaS. Hackers regularly want the payment to be made in a cryptocurrency that is more difficult to track than the fiat currency and subject to fewer regulations.