JBS USA today confirmed it paid the equivalent of US $11 million ($A14.2m) in ransom in response to the criminal cyber attack against its operations.
At the time of payment, the vast majority of the company’s facilities were operational, the company said in a media statement issued earlier today.
In consultation with internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts, the company said it made the decision to mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated.
“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, chief executive of JBS USA beef division, which includes Australian operations.
“However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”
The FBI told JBS the organisation behind the attack was “one of the most specialised and sophisticated cybercriminal groups in the world”.
JBS said its ability to quickly resolve the issues resulting from the attack was due to its cybersecurity protocols, redundancy systems and encrypted backup servers. The company said it spent more than US$200 million annually on IT and employs more than 850 IT professionals globally.
JBS USA has maintained constant communications with government officials throughout the incident. Third-party forensic investigations are still ongoing, and no final determinations have been made. Preliminary investigation results confirm that no company, customer or employee data was compromised.