Costa Rica says it’s ‘at war’ with Conti ransomware

Recently appointed Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves has said his country is “at war” with the Conti ransomware gang.

The group recently launched an attack that reportedly hit 27 government institutions, including municipalities, utilities and the Ministry of Finance.

The announcement comes after Russian-speaking group Conti doubled its ransom demand to $20 million and asked Costa Ricans to “take to the streets and demand payment” in an online statement.

How serious is the attack?

Chaves said his country’s public sector “has not been able to collect taxes for the traditional tax system”, international trade has been impacted and the payment of salaries to public sector personnel has also been affected. affected.

The president told listeners to the press conference – originally reported by COSTA RICA – that there is unfortunately still no diagnosis of the real extent of the damage.

However, Chaves took the opportunity to blame it on the country’s previous administration.

“The previous government left this task to us,” he said. “From April 17, when the attack started, to May 8, frankly very little was done.”

“In fact, there was a lack of coordination, a denial of information to the various elements that needed to be involved.”

Conti claimed in an online statement that he has insiders in the Costa Rican government and is “working to gain access to your other systems as well.”

Additionally, Conti warned the government, “We know you’ve hired a data recovery specialist, don’t try to find workarounds.”

The dire situation in Costa Rica is a timely reminder for businesses to step up their protections against threats like ransomware.

A recent Veeam survey of IT managers found that although 76% of victims accepted the ransom demands, only 52% were ultimately able to recover their encrypted files, leaving the remaining 24% empty-handed and out of pocket.

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