Costa Rica refuses to pay $15 million to hackers and the country remains in chaos – 01/06/2022

Other chapters in the Costa Rican government since April received chapters yesterday (31). The country’s health system has been shut down in a new hacking operation. There are problems with delays in health care and surgeries.

Today, almost 30 government agencies in Costa Rica have been targeted for hijacking data from their systems – this attack strategy is known as ransomware. The crime was linked to the Conti hacker group, which is considered one of the most dangerous in the world.

“We are seeing the beginning of an era of unprecedented cyberattacks,” said Diego González, head of cybersecurity at the Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (CAMTIC), according to the reported by the website Rest Of Wolrd.

The country declared a state of emergency last month and refused to pay the $15 million demanded by the hackers. Without information from public organizations, processes related to tax collection, payment of fees and negotiation of services were affected.

Understanding imposed chaos

The first cyber attacks were recorded on April 12. On the 18th of the same month, eight government offices in Costa Rica were targeted. The cybercriminals initially asked for $10 million as a ransom.

THE The Chamber of Foreign Commerce of Costa Rica is considered at the time more than US$ 125 million in losses due to the unavailability of its services.

As the days passed, new public systems were launched. On May 8, the gang demanded $20 million. Six days later, on the 14th, the amount was reduced to US$ 15 million.

Some functions of the Ministry of Finance, for example, have been canceled for a month. The necessary procedures, in this case, are repeated by hand, with pen and paper. In Brazil, the National Treasury has already received attacks through ransomware.

The company is losing about $ 30 million a day since the first attack, according to Congresswoman Gloria Navas.

Finance Minister Nogui Acosta said the government is not sure if it will be able to balance the accounts of May and is not sure if the taxes have been paid, or what has been spent.

“The cyberattack made it more difficult to pay taxes and earn money because we rely on the system of the Ministry of Finance,” said Daniel Jiménez, a micro-entrepreneur, to the Rest of the World.

Payment systems also have access problems. As a result, tens of thousands of civil servants have not been paid. In the face of unrest, teachers began to rally against the government.

“Many of my colleagues are struggling. Many have difficulty paying off important debts, such as their mortgages. San Jose, according to the report.

What may have caused the attacks

Recently, it has been reported that Conti has created a new process and is working with small hacker groups, according to the report.

Therefore, there is a suspicion that the attack in Costa Rica was motivated by a desire for publicity and not money. The United States recently announced a $15 million reward for clues about the identity and location of its members.

Jorge Mora, director of Digital Governance of the country, believes that the reason for the actions is that Costa Rica has started to stand out in the last two years in the cybersecurity field.

In 2019, the Comptroller General of the Republic published an analysis on the weaknesses of the IT systems (Information Technology) of the Ministry of Finance, pointing out important weaknesses.

“These audit reports are very detailed,” Mora told Rest of the World, who was closely involved in the agency’s cybersecurity operation before the attack.

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