SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A month after a crippled ransomware attack, Costa Rica has declared a state of emergency. Theoretically, the measures usually reserved for dealing with natural disasters or COVID-19 epidemics would allow the government to respond more flexibly to crises.
The announcement refers to the attacks Costa Rica is suffering from at the hands of “cyber criminals” and “cyber terrorists”.
The Russian-speaking County Gang has claimed responsibility for the attack. Last week, the U.S. State Department offered a 10 million reward for information leading to the identification or location of county leaders.
The attack began in April when the finance ministry first reported that several of its systems, including tax collection and tariffs, had been affected. The Social Security Agency’s human resources system and the Ministry of Labor have also been targeted.
The Costa Rican government has not announced an extension of the attack, but some systems, particularly the finance ministry, are still not functioning normally. The government also did not calculate the damage caused by the attack.
Carlos Alvarado was also president when the attack began and he said Costa Rica would not pay any ransom to the gang.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement last week that the County Group was responsible for hundreds of ransomware incidents in the past two years. “The FBI estimates that as of January 2022, the number of ransomware-related attacks has exceeded $ 150,000,000, making the ransomware variant the most expensive strain of ransomware ever recorded.”
In addition to the state-of-the-art ransomware situation, Chavez also eliminated the epidemic-related mandatory use of masks in public spaces and issued a decree urging public bodies not to authorize officials who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, contrary to their predecessor’s policy.