Costa Rica’s Alvarado says cyberattacks seek to destabilize country as government changes

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, speaks during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool/File Photo

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SAN JOSE, April 21 (Reuters) – Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado said on Thursday recent cyberattacks on state computer systems were aimed at destabilizing the Central American country as it transitions to President-elect Rodrigo’s new government. Chaves.

Six public institutions were hit by cyberattacks this week, officials said. Russia-based cybercrime group Conti has claimed responsibility, demanding $10 million in exchange for disclosing stolen or encrypted data from Costa Rica’s finance ministry, according to local media.

“This attack is not about money, but aims to threaten the stability of the country in a transitional situation. They will not succeed,” said Alvarado, who is set to leave office when Chaves takes over. power on May 8.

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Chaves did not comment on the attacks.

Alvarado said the threat of cyberattacks remains “latent”.

“The Costa Rican state will not pay anything to these cybercriminals,” Alvarado said in a message released to the media.

Hackers accessed historical information on taxpayers considered “sensitive” after intervening in Treasury customs platforms, Finance Minister Elian Villegas said on Wednesday, without specifying the amount of data hacked.

Some platforms, including tax and customs, remained suspended for a fourth day, causing a bottleneck in imports and exports. The country’s exporters union announced losses of $200 million on Wednesday.

Alvarado said officials were still working to assess the damage, prevent further attacks and restore services with the help of experts from private companies, international organizations and countries including the United States, Spain and Israel.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned in March of cyberattacks by Conti, known for using ransomware programs to extort millions of dollars from his targets.

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Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; written by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Sandra Maler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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