The world’s largest meat processing company has paid the equivalent of $11m (£7.8m) in ransom to put an end to a major cyber-attack.

Computer networks at JBS were hacked last week, temporarily shutting down some operations in Australia, Canada, and the US. The payment was reportedly made using Bitcoin after plants had come back online. JBS says it was necessary to pay to protect customers.

In a ransomware attack, hackers get into a computer network and threaten to cause disruption or delete files unless a ransom in cryptocurrency is paid. The company added that it paid the money because of the sophistication of the attack, even though the “vast majority” of its plants remained operational.

The company was forced to halt cattle slaughtering at all of its US plants for a day. That disruption threatened food supplies and risked higher food prices for consumers.

The White House has said that a criminal organization “likely based in Russia” was behind the attack. Last month, fuel delivery in the southeast of the US was crippled for several days after a ransomware attack targeted the Colonial Pipeline.