Costa Rica declares national emergency after mass invasion

If you ever needed proof that cyber attacks are a very real and devastating thing, the entire country of Costa Rica has declared a national emergency after being bombarded with digital attacks.

computer beeping informs that the president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, has officially announced a state of emergency for the nation. This comes after a major attack by the Conti ransomware group, which has ties to the cybercrime syndicate Wizard Spider, responsible for many attacks, including malware such as Ryuk who targets the hospitals. Generally speaking, these are really bad guys who have no plans to rescue President Chaves.

After the initial attack, the offending group Conti demanded a $10 million ransom from the Costa Rican Ministry of Finance, which was not paid. In response, Conti reportedly released 97% of the total 672GB of data stolen from the Costa Rican government.

The Ministry of Finance has also not yet fully confirmed the exact extent of the attack, which includes what taxpayers’ personal data may have been collected. It may be that the personal data of many Costa Rican citizens was collected by these bad actors. This is a massive breach of privacy that potentially affects an entire country, so it’s no surprise that this state of emergency was called.

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“The attack that Costa Rica is suffering from cybercriminals, cyberterrorists is declared a national emergency and we are signing this decree, precisely, to declare a state of national emergency in the entire public sector of the Costa Rican State and allow our society to respond to these attacks as criminal acts”, said the President, accompanied by the Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz, and the Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (Micitt), Carlos Alvarado.

Currently, only an individual threat actor known as UNC1756 has claimed responsibility for the attack. They threatened further attacks as ransoms were not paid and said these would be more severe. So there is even more reason for Costa Rica to be especially vigilant at this time.

“We signed the decree so that the country can defend itself from the criminal attack that cybercriminals are making us. This is an attack on the homeland and we signed the decree to have a better way to defend ourselves”, said President Chaves.

While this is bad news for many, the United States government is offering a $10 million reward for information that could help identify or locate those responsible for the attacks. Another $5 million is on offer if it leads to arrest or conviction. At this point, it might be more profitable for UNC1756 to surrender. We certainly recommend it, at least.

Once again, this is proof that attacks like these are far from a thing of the past. ransomware yet popping up in emails and all kinds to catch people off guard, and things can only get worse once quantum computing really takes off.

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