Meat processing giant JBS has dished out around £7.8m in a crypto ransom to rid its networks of hackers in a major cyber-attack, the company confirmed last night.
The meatpacker’s computer networks were hacked at the end of May, which forced some operations in Australia, Canada and the US to temporarily shut down.
The ransom was reportedly made using Bitcoin, after its plants had come back online, 13 of which were US based.
JBS, which spends around $200m on IT services annually, said dishing out the virtual cash was necessary to pay to protect customers.
“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said JBS chief executive Andre Nogueira.
“However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”
The cyber-attack, known as ransomware, is a type of malware that shuts down a company’s computer systems – with hackers demanding a payment to unlock it, according to the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The meatpacking giant’s ransomware case is the latest in a number of cyber attacks which have been increasing over recent years.
Last month, oil pipeline system firm Colonial Pipeline was also struck by a ransomware attack and admitted to paying $4.4m in Bitcoin to hackers from the group DarkSide.
“We needed to do everything in our power to restart the system quickly and safely,” the company said in a statement at the time.
“The decision was made to pay the ransom. This decision was not made lightly, however, one that had to be made.”