Cyber attacks can be very expensive. The question should even be on the menu of the meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutin on June 16 in Geneva. In the meantime, the global meat giant JBS, the victim of an attack in late May, said Wednesday it had paid a ransom of $ 11 million in bitcoins to hackers.
JBS had indicated to the American authorities to be the target of a cyberattack with ransomware coming from a “criminal organization probably based in Russia”, according to the White House. The servers on which its computer systems in North America and Australia are based had been targeted, notably paralyzing the group’s activities in Australia and suspending certain production lines in the United States.
“A very difficult decision to make”
“It was a very difficult decision for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, boss of the US subsidiary, in a statement. “However, we felt that this decision should be taken to prevent any potential risk to our customers,” he continued. “At the time of payment, the vast majority of the company’s facilities were operational,” said JBS, which is one of the world’s largest food companies. It was to “ensure that no data is exfiltrated” and “to avoid any unforeseen problems related to the attack”, according to the group.
The company is far from being an isolated case. The Colonial Pipeline group, also the target of an attack of this type in early May, admitted to having paid $ 4.4 million to hackers. On Monday, the American authorities announced that they had recovered part of the sum. At least $ 18 billion was paid to ransomware hackers last year, according to security firm Emsisoft.