JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, said it paid $11 million ransom to hackers after a cyberattack halted their operations, CBS News reports.
The company said it paid the ransom using bitcoin to a Russian-speaking ransomware gang called “REvil” in order to prevent further disruptions after it suspended operations at 13 of their meat processing plants.
"This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally," Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, said in a statement. "However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers."
The company said that "the vast majority of the company's facilities were operational" when it made the payment and decided to pay the ransom after consulting cybersecurity experts to ensure no data was stolen by the group.
Biden to talk cyberattacks with Putin:
The FBI identified the gang behind the cyberattack as "REvil" or "Sodinokibi."
"As the lead Federal investigative agency fighting cyber threats, combating cybercrime is one of the FBI's highest priorities," the FBI said. "We continue to focus our efforts on imposing risk and consequences and holding the responsible cyber actors accountable."
The group’s ties are unclear but national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday that President Joe Biden would bring up the recent cyberattacks on critical US facilities in his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"All ransomware attacks are crimes," Sullivan said. "They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and every responsible nation should take action against the criminals."
Ransomware “getting worse and worse”:
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that ransomware attacks are "getting worse and worse.”
"We have to do everything we possibly can here," he said at a Senate hearing. "This is a very, very serious threat."
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has suggested banning companies from paying ransoms to cyberattackers but it’s unclear if the White House or Congress support such legislation.