Ransomware Locks-up Costa Rican Government Disrupting Tax Collection and Leaking Citizen Personal Data

Conti ransomware locks up Costa Rica

Conti ransomware has locked-up Costa Rican government systems leaving it unable to function. Thus, the government was forced to declare a state of emergency, giving the president powers needed to begin the ransomware recovery efforts immediately.

Once the cyberattackers gained initial access to Costa Rican Ministry of finance systems, they were able to spread malware extending into other government networks with the impact of disrupting tax collection activities and leaking citizen's personal information on the Dark web.

The US Department of State, which is naming conti ransomware group as responsible for the costa Rican cyberattack, is offering a $10 million reward for information on the whereabouts of the attackers.

Further the US Department, is calling Conti ransomware as "the costliest strain of ransomware ever documented", that has affected over 1,000 victims since January 2022 amounting to $150 million ransom payments to the attackers.

Among ransomware families that victims report to the FBI, top on the list is conti, pysa, lockbit, ransomEXX/Defray777, zeppelin and Crysis/Dharma/phobos. Conti ransomware attacks are increasing since disrupting Ireland’s national health care system in May 2021, which hindered access to health services to people in desperate need of help. 

Do not wait until you fall victim to a ransomware attack:

  1. Backup your critical business data, test that you can restore it and store backups offline.

  2. Increase your skills in telling a fake from legitimate email messages - ninety percent of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. Take free cybersecurity courses to increase your knowledge making it more difficult for cyberattackers to fool you.

  3. Dont panic if you fall victim to a ransomware attack – here is a list of 14 ransomware tools to detect and decrypt ransomware to recover your data.

  4. Create guidelines within your business on how to handle critical data and business assets, that empower employees to make the right decisions for your business.

  5. Limit and constantly monitor access to your critical business data, including updating business systems immediately when critical software updates become available, which locks out cyberattackers.
Bottomline is no one is immune from ransomware attacks: individuals, businesses (small and big) including nation states, can all be attacked with devasting consquences most especially when unprepared. Using the resources above goes a long way in lowering the risk of a successful attack.

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