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Russian cyber attack on Costa Rica

Without any links between Costa Rica and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the country has been under a major hacker attack by a Russian hacker group. The payment system, tax authorities and 25 other authorities in the country have lost their ability to receive and make payments. The hacker group has released more than 600 gigabytes of confidential information and threatens to release more if the ransom is not paid by the government.

Last month, the Russian hacker group requested 100 million Swedish krona from the Costa Rican government. This week, the hacker group raised the ransom to SEK 200 million.

“If you don’t pay within a week, we will destroy your encryption keys. We are also creating access to other systems. You are forcing us to use horrible methods. You have no choice but to pay us,” wrote the self-styled Russian hacker group Contikartellen.

Costa Rica President, Who took office two weeks ago, imposed a state of emergency in order to deal with problems without having to go through Parliament.

“We are signing this decree and declaring exemption laws that affect the entire public sector so that we can respond to these criminal attacks,” said the country’s President Rodrigo Chavez.

The only way for government employees to get their salary is to send an email to their employer.

Costa Rica flag.

Costa Rica flag.

Photo: Rolf Hyde/TT

Russian hacker group It has previously carried out extensive cyber attacks, including an attack on Ireland’s health system last year. This attack prompted the US government to issue a bounty of SEK 100 million to anyone who can reveal who is driving the so-called Contikartellen. The US State Department estimates that the hacker group has so far earned more than 1.5 billion Swedish kronor from extortion after carrying out cyber attacks on thousands of organizations.

Cyber ​​expert Maya Horowitz of Check Point says that Costa Rica is not the only country that has suffered from hacker group attacks.

– We recently witnessed a large-scale extortion campaign also against Peru, She told the BBC.

Her research shows that the economic damage caused by cyberattacks is often seven times greater than ransomware. In the case of Costa Rica, you think the cost will be much higher.

The total cost will be much more than seven times the ransom, estimates Maya Horowitz.

A Russian hacker group has urged Costa Ricans to “take to the streets” to demand that the government pay a ransom. Contikartellen had never made such aggressive threats.

Read more: This is how Russia’s cyber army works to paralyze the enemy

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