JBS USA pays $11 million ransom to hackers

JBS USA confirmed it paid the equivalent of US$11 million in ransom in response to the recent criminal hack against its operations.

Mariusz Blach | Fotolia.com
Mariusz Blach | Fotolia.com

JBS USA confirmed it paid the equivalent of US$11 million in ransom in response to the recent criminal hack against its operations.

According to a statement from the company, at the time of payment, the vast majority of JBS USA’s facilities were operational. In consultation with internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts, the company made the decision to mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated.

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

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed JBS this is one of the most specialized and sophisticated cybercriminal groups in the world. JBS USA stated that its ability to quickly resolve the issues resulting from the attack was due to its cybersecurity protocols, redundant systems and encrypted backup servers. The company spends more than $200 million annually on information technology (IT) and employs more than 850 IT professionals globally.

JBS USA has maintained constant communications with government officials throughout the incident. Third-party forensic investigations are still ongoing, and no final determinations have been made, the company stated. Preliminary investigation results confirm that no company, customer or employee data was compromised.

 JBS USA first reported it was the victim of the cyberattack on May 31, and that it affected some of its servers supporting company IT systems in the United States and Australia.

The company reported that all JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride facilities were able to resume production at all of its facilities “at close to full capacity” across its global operations on June 3.

JBS USA is a leading processor of beef, pork and prepared foods in the U.S., a leading beef processor in Canada, and a leading processor of beef, pork, lamb and prepared foods in Australia. It is also a majority shareholder of Pilgrim’s Pride, the second largest poultry company in the United States, with operations also in Mexico and in Europe.

JBS USA is a unit of JBS SA, headquartered in Sao Paolo, Brazil. According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, JBS is the world’s largest protein supplier and the second largest food company. It also ranks first globally as a poultry producer, having slaughtered 4.04 billion broilers during the past year.

Since the cybersecurity incident occurred, JBS announced its intent to purchase two Australian businesses, Rivalea Holdings and Oxdale Dairy Enterprise.

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