Ransomware Gang Threatens to ‘Overthrow’ Costa Rica’s New Government, Raises Demand to $20 Million

The ransomware group behind an attack on several Costa Rican government ministries issued several scathing warnings against the country over the weekend, raising the ransom demand to $20 million and threatening to “overthrow” the Costa Rican government. new president Rodrigo Chaves.

In two posts on their leak site on Saturday, the Conti ransomware group – which has already leaked 97% of the 670GB they stole in their attacks – claimed that the US government was “sacrificing” Costa Rica and that the country’s government would have to pay for the decryption keys to unlock their systems.

Costa Rica’s new government took office last week and immediately declared a state of emergency after it refused to pay the initial $10 million ransom issued by Conti. The country has received help from officials in the United States, Israel and other countries. The United States has offered a $10 million bounty to anyone linked to Conti after the attack on Costa Rica.

“Why not just buy a key? I don’t know if there have been any cases of entering an emergency situation in the country due to a cyber attack? In a week we will delete the decryption keys for Costa Rica,” the group threatened.

“I call on all residents of Costa Rica, go to your government and organize rallies so that they pay us as soon as possible. If your current government fails to stabilize the situation? Maybe it’s worth it to change it?”

In another message, the group called US President Joe Biden a “terrorist” and said it was increasing the ransom price to $20 million. The group also hinted that they would start calling government officials to demand the ransom.

“Pay just before it’s too late, your country has been destroyed by 2 people, 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 group added. .

More than three weeks after the start of the attack, the country still faces major struggles, in particular due to the damage caused to the Ministry of Finance.

The country was forced to tell residents last week that taxes must be calculated by hand and paid in person at local banks, as opposed to the digital system the country previously used.

The attack crippled the country’s customs and tax platforms alongside several other government agencies, even bringing down the energy supplier of a Costa Rican town. The country’s Treasury Department has been unable to operate any of its digital services since the attack began, making it nearly impossible to process documents, signatures and stamps required by law.

Organizations affected by the attack include:

  • The Ministry of Finance
  • The Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications
  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Security
  • The Social Development and Family Allowance Fund
  • The National Institute of Meteorology
  • The Costa Rican Social Security Fund
  • The Interuniversity Headquarters of Alajuela

Jonathan has worked around the world as a journalist since 2014. Before returning to New York, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

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