Ransomware Hackers Hit Jackpot with Meatpacking Plant Heist

It used to take some real gumption to pull of a heist.  You’d have to suspend your humanity for however long it took to get away with whatever it was that you were trying to get away with.

You’d need a crew, likely a van.  You’d spend a fortune on ski masks, (or other masks if you’re one of those cool heist gangs).

It used to take some real-world effort to pull these things off.  Nowadays, you can just send a computer virus over to a meatpacking plant and rake in $11 million.

The world’s largest meat processing company said Wednesday that it paid an $11 million ransom to cybercriminals after it was forced to halt cattle-slaughtering operations at 13 of its meat processing plants. JBS confirmed the payment in a statement following a cyberattack attributed to the Russian-speaking ransomware gang “REvil.”

The company ultimately paid the ransom in Bitcoin cryptocurrency to prevent further disruptions of the meat plants, mitigating potential damage to the food supply — including restaurants, grocery stores and farmers that rely on JBS production.

“This was a very difficult decision to make for our company and for me personally,” said Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, in a statement. “However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers.”

And, for every ransom paid, scores of new players enter the game.

Just weeks ago, the folks responsible for overseeing the Colonial pipeline similarly acquiesced to defeat, paying $4.4 million to hackers.  A majority of that sum was thankfully recovered.