Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS says it paid an $11 million ransom to regain control of their systems after a cyberattack over the Memorial Day weekend took their meat processing facilities offline. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ransom was paid in Bitcoin and was done in an effort to shield JBS’ meat plants and the food supply chain from further disruption. JBS-owned processing plants handle over a fifth of slaughter capacity in the U.S. The cyberattack in late May targeted JBS’ computer systems in North America and Australia, including 13 of the company’s facilities. While the company was able to use backup systems to return the plants to operation, the Journal reports that the company ultimately agreed to pay the ransom to prevent future attacks.
The FBI attributed the attack to REvil, a criminal ransomware gang with ties to Russia. The attack came less than a month after a similar assault on Colonial Pipeline’s systems, causing a shutdown of a major pipeline through several southeastern states. The company also paid a ransom, most of which has been recovered by the Justice Department.