Meat supplier JBS USA Holdings Inc. said it paid an $11 million ransom in relation to a cyberattack that shutdown the entire U.S. beef processing operation last week.
The Wall Street Journal reports the company paid the ransom in bitcoin in an effort to shield its meat plants from further disruption and limit potential impact on restaurants, grocery stores and farmers that rely on the company's goods, Andre Nogueira, chief executive of Brazilian meat company JBS SA's U.S. division, confirmed.
CNN reports the ransom was paid after most of JBS USA's facilities had already began operating online again.
"This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally," Nogueira said in a statement released by the company on Wednesday (June 9) via CNN. "However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers."
The U.S. government attributed the cyberattack to REvil, a criminal gang believed to be based in Russia or another part of Eastern Europe.
JBS's IT systems in both North America and Australia were affected by the ransomware attack.
"Preliminary investigation results confirm that no company, customer or employee data was compromised," JBS said.
JBS USA is part of JBS Foods, which is one of the world's largest food companies and operates in 15 counties and distributes to about 100 countries in total.
Ransomware is malware that holds the victim's information at ransom and prevents the user from accessing files, databases or applications, usually leading to a demand of payment for their release, typically through digital currency such as bitcoin.