Costa Rica has officially declared a state of emergency after a month of crippling ransomware attacks. President Rodrigo Chaves made the emergency declaration one of his first acts after he was sworn in as President in May 2022. Coast Rica is suffering at the hands of cybercriminals, confirmed to be the Russian-speaking Conti gang, who have taken full responsibility for the attack. The U.S. State Department has offered a $10 Million reward for information leading to the location or identity of the gang members.
The attack began in April, when the Finance Ministry was the first to report that a number of their systems were affected, including tax collection and customs. Some systems are still not functioning, months later. The financial ramifications of the cyber-attack are yet to be established, as well as other information on what may have been taken. The Conti gang has also been responsible for past cyber incidents, hundreds of them over the past two years according to the U.S. State Department.
Conti Victims Abound
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has estimated that as of January 2022 there were over 1,000 victims of attacks associated with Conti ransomware, with victims paying the Conti gang in excess of US$150,000,000, making it the costliest strain of ransomware ever documented.
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Author: Mahdi Kobeissi, Cyber Security Consultant