Costa Rica declares state of emergency following Russian-speaking ‘cyber terror’ | science and technology news

Costa Rica has declared a national state of emergency due to an attack on government systems committed by Russian-speaking cybercriminals.

President Rodrigo Chavez – an economist who was sworn in just Sunday – has signed an executive decree describing the April 18 attack as an act of “cyber terrorism”.

The decree means that a state of emergency is in place across the country’s public sector, in what is believed to be the first country in the world to respond to a cyber attack.

The Conti ransom gang claimed they were behind the attack. It seeks to extort millions from the government Costa Rica By distributing stolen data online and rendering IT systems unusable in many ministries.

A post on the president’s Facebook page confirmed the decision, although a Costa Rica foreign ministry spokesman could not comment to Sky News.

The US State Department launched the attack last Friday when it announced rewards of up to $ 15 million for information about the gang’s main leadership.

It said: “By offering this wage, the the united states It demonstrates its commitment to protecting potential ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals.

“We look forward to working with countries that are willing to bring justice to these victims affected by ransomware” – possibly trying to differentiate itself from China, which Accused of allowing cyberattacksWith whom Costa Rica has established close relations.

The State Department added that the ransomware group “was responsible for hundreds of ransomware incidents over the past two years” and that the FBI estimates that it made more than $ 150 million in victim payments.

But leaked internal chat logs suggest he could have received much more.

picture:
Conte declared his “full support” to the Russian government over the invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Reuters

Ukrainian cybercrime kills Russian colleagues

After a short period RussiaInvasion of Ukraine, the gang – which was behind The ‘catastrophic’ attack on the National Health Service in Ireland She declared her “full support” for the Russian government.

The gang warned: “If anyone decides to organize a cyber attack or any war activities against Russia, we will […] All possible resources to respond to the enemy’s critical infrastructure. “

While a later statement sought to withdraw explicit support for the Kremlin’s criminal group, declaring that it was a “response to provoking Western wars”, the damage was done.

This largely led to an insider’s resentment over the Conti who were apparently outraged at the support of their former colleagues for the Russian invasion.

This insider leaked the group’s internal chat logs – which provided a treasure trove to the investigators – and signed their message with: “Glory to Ukraine!”

Among the closet of thousands of internal messages outlining the activities of the ransomware group, some suggested that the gang targeted Bellingcat researchers. Investigation into the poisoning of Alexei NavalnyThese researchers point to the association of criminals with the Russian security services.

The leaks also contained addresses of the gang’s cryptocurrency, which – according to today’s cumulative assessment, certainly far above the value of those transactions at the time – show that the gang has fetched more than $ 2.7 billion in Bitcoin since 2017.

Do you need an emergency?

Alexandra Boulos, a fellow in international cyber security policy at the Berlin-based think tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (New Responsibility Foundation), told Sky News the attack was comparable to the one at the German municipality of Anhalt-Bietterfeld.

Ms Paul said it was not the first municipality to be exposed to my ransomware, but it was the most striking, explaining that “municipal services have been affected for weeks on end” forcing the government to declare a state of emergency and to the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, to provide support.

President Chavez said Costa Rica’s national emergency was intended to “allow our society to respond to these attacks as criminal acts,” even though the country disbanded its military in 1948.

“When Anhalt Bitterfield declared a disaster, four days after becoming aware of the ransom incident, they explained that it was due to the sheer scale of the incident and the lack of clarity about when municipal services will resume,” he said. me. Paul said.

“Announcing a state of disaster was mostly a political decision that facilitated external communication to the public and other government agencies whose support the municipality requested.

“It has also facilitated the use of private IT service providers. In turn, when the municipality requested support from the Bundeswehr, it sparked much controversy in Germany, with many skeptical about the deployment of the armed forces locally. And support the municipal soldiers in setting up new computers, Mrs. Paul added.

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Finance was the first to report problems as a result of the attack, and many tax and social security systems remain ineffective.

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