Ransomware gang threatens to overthrow Costa Rica government
San Jose, May 16
A ransomware gang that infiltrated some Costa Rican government computer systems has upped its threat, saying its goal is now to overthrow the government.
The Russian-speaking Conti gang attacked Costa Rica in April, accessing multiple critical systems in the Finance Ministry, including customs and tax collection. Other government systems were also affected and a month later not all are fully functioning.
President Rodrigo Chaves declared a state of emergency over the attack as soon as he was sworn in last week. The US State Department offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the identification or location of Conti leaders.
Conti responded by writing, “We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency.”
The gang also said it was raising the ransom demand to $20 million. It called on Costa Ricans to pressure their government to pay.
The attack has encrypted government data and the gang said Saturday that if the ransom wasn’t paid in one week, it would delete the decryption keys.
The US State Department statement last week said the Conti group had been responsible for hundreds of ransomware incidents during the past two years.
“The FBI estimates that as of January 2022, there had been over 1,000 victims of attacks associated with Conti ransomware with victim payouts exceeding $150,000,000, making the Conti ransomware variant of the costliest strain of ransomware ever documented,” the statement said. AP