The best kind of work has to be getting paid for someone else’s – but, like the internet (and law enforcement) would say, that’s illegal. It’s paid off for the JBS meat plant attackers, to the tune of around $11 million. That’s about R150 million in South African terms – not a bad payday for nothing more than stopping other people from doing their jobs.
JBS does negotiate with terrorists
The meat supplier has issued a statement confirming that it has paid “…the equivalent of $11 million in ransom in response to the criminal hack against its operations.” According to company CEO Andre Nogueira, the reason for this was “…to prevent any potential risk for our customers.” More specifically, the company wanted to “…mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated.”
Paying the ransom might have ensured that the wide-scale slaughter of beasts for human consumption could continue but it’ll also embolden ransomware attackers to try other high-profile targets. Their payment was likely in a cryptocurrency and it was likely tracked by law enforcement agencies (probably the FBI) but actually securing a conviction for this could prove difficult (enough that more outfits attempt to make a quick buck from similar attacks).
JBS has said that data recovery was completely successful, but the door remains open for another attack in future, according to the Wall Street Journal. Or, rather, the door is impossible to completely close. Likely, we won’t ever know the full extent of the damage, however. Companies tend to keep this sort of thing under wraps because it tends to hurt their bottom, which is just what ransomware attackers are counting on.