JBS headquarters in Australia: Bitcoins for blackmailers
Photo: PATRICK HAMILTON / AFP
There is actually an iron rule when it comes to dealing with extortion: you do not negotiate with criminals so as not to offer incentives to imitators. As it now turned out, the world's largest meat company JBS from Brazil has apparently not adhered to it. The company, which was the victim of a ransomware attack last week, paid an eleven million dollar ransom to get its systems working again. "It was a very difficult decision for our company and me personally," said Andre Nogueira, the head of JBS USA, in a press release. According to the Wall Street Journal, the ransom was paid in the crypto currency Bitcoin.
The cyber attack had temporarily shut down five of the largest meat factories in the United States.
The US Department of Agriculture and the White House had also stepped in to alleviate potential supply problems.
It is still unclear who is behind the attack, the US suspects a criminal group from Russia.
Pipeline companies also paid ransom
Cyber attacks, in which companies' computers are encrypted and attackers charge money for the release, have recently been more common.
Just a few weeks ago, an attack of this type halted the operation of one of the largest gasoline pipelines in the United States and temporarily cut fuel supplies in the country.
The operator Colonial paid hackers a ransom of $ 4.4 million, as the company later admitted.
That is the equivalent of around 3.6 million euros.
JBS USA stated that the decision to pay the ransom was made "in consultation with internal and external IT security experts."
According to company boss Nogueira, JBS wanted to prevent potential risks for its customers by paying the ransom.
In addition, they wanted to reduce unforeseen problems caused by the attack.
However, it is unclear whether and to what extent this succeeded at all.
At the time of the ransom payment, most of the group's infrastructure was operational, according to the group’s announcement.
After the attack, JBS quickly emphasized that the company's backup servers were not affected.
Ultimately, the systems could be started up again relatively quickly.
rai / AFP / dpa