US food manufacturing firm has paid $11mn ransom in Bitcoin

FBI considers paying a ransom is supporting criminals
  • Ransom payments worth $11 million made via Bitcoin by JBS USA holdings
  • The attackers had hacked the few servers of the firm’s plants that process one-fifth of US meat supply
  • Data-rich sectors like banks and insurers seems are no longer a favorite target of hackers
  • The US FBI attributed REvil to the latest attack
  • FBI has not discouraged the move of JBS USA Holdings by paying the ransom amount

Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency introduced by an anonymous person in 2009. Following the decentralized nature of the currency, several illicit actors have used it for financial crimes. Recently, a report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that JBS, a leading global meat processing firm, had faced a major cyber attack. Last week, the hackers had temporarily knocked out the plants of the firm. According to Andre Nogueira, the CEO of the firm, all attacked plants used to process one-fifth of the nation’s meat supply. Moreover, the firm paid ransom through Bitcoin to shield further disruptions.

Did the attack have any significant effect on the nation?

JBS USA Holdings Inc is the biggest food manufacturing firm in the United States. Moreover, this firm is also considered the largest meat manufacturing firm in the world in terms of beef, poultry, and pork. The firm operates from Australia to South America and Europe. Following the firm’s scalability, it is clear that the attack on such a firm could impact restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers that rely on the firm.

Ransom of more than $11 million paid to the attackers

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To protect all the plants from further disruption, the firm had to pay a large sum of $11 million to the hackers. Notably, the hackers took the ransom payments via Bitcoin. It is estimated that the payments were of more than 300 BTC as per the recent current price. 

Ransomware bitcoin
Source: TheCoinRepublic

According to Andre, the payments to the hackers were made after the majority of the firm plants were running again. Additionally, he mentioned that it was painful to pay the illicit actors, but the firm did the right thing for its clients.

When was the hack identified?

According to Andre, the firm identified the attack this weekend. The technology staff of the firms noticed a few irregularities with the functioning of a few of their servers. Meanwhile, the operators found a message asking for a ransom to reclaim access to the servers. 

Read More: US Agency Recoups; Millions in Cryptocurrency paid to Colonial Pipeline ransomware hackers

As the firm figured out the attack, it immediately informed the US FBI. Moreover, the staff began to shut down the meat supplier’s system. Later on, the firm hired technology vendors and cybersecurity experts that helped negotiate with the malicious actors.

As per The Wall Street Journal, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attributed the attack to REvil. The hacker group is famous as the criminal ransomware gang that is tied to Russia.

Hackers have shifted from data-rich firms

Previously, the hackers used to target firms with enriched data like retailers, banks, and insurers. However, now it is observed that hackers mainly target essential service providers. Such providers include hospitals, transport operators, and food processors.

In the JBS attack, the firm fulfilled the demand of the hackers by sending the ransom amount. However, the hit of the firm was discouraged by the FBI. According to the US FBI, giving the ransom amount supports a soaring criminal industry. 

Notably, the FBI pointed out that the decryption tools given in exchange for a ransom don’t work. Although the FBI remained against the firm’s decision, the senior officials from the White House mentioned that it is tough to take such decisions.

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Ahtesham Anishttp://www.thecoinrepublic.com
Ahtesham Anis is a Computer Science undergrad student currently based out of India. Coming from the business background and his keen interest in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology is what Ahtesham brings to the table. He is always an eager learner when it comes to exploring the new technologies and topics in the crypto world.

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