Skip to main content

Costa Rican president says country is ‘at war’ with Conti ransomware group

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Ransomware — and particularly the Conti ransomware gang — has become a geopolitical force in Costa Rica. On Monday, the new Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves – who began his four-year term only ten days ago – declared that the country was ”at war” with the Conti cybercriminal gang, whose ransomware attack has disabled agencies across the government since April.

In a forceful statement made to press on May 16th, President Chaves also said that Conti was receiving help from collaborators within the country, and called on international allies to help.

“We’re at war and this is not an exaggeration,” Chaves told local media. “The war is against an international terrorist group, which apparently has operatives in Costa Rica. There are very clear indications that people inside the country are collaborating with Conti.”

President Chaves’ declaration of war against Conti comes in the face of unusually belligerent rhetoric from the ransomware group, which stated its intent to “overthrow the government by means of a cyberattack.” In a message posted to the Conti website, the ransomware group urged citizens of Costa Rica to pressure their government to pay the ransom, which has been doubled from an initial $10 million to $20 million.

Over the period of the attack, the US government has also offered a bounty of up to $10 million for information that could identify or locate the main coordinators of the Conti group’s operations, or $5 million for information leading to the arrest of any Conti member.

The severe impact of Conti’s attack on the Costa Rican government points to the continued ability of the largest ransomware groups to operate on a scale that can pose a threat to nation states, and draw on funding reserves that allow them to buy their way into some of the most sensitive computer systems by bribing those with access.

“We’re at the point now where these ransomware groups make billions of dollars, so their ability to get access to these [networks] is only limited by their own desire,” said Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of anti-ransomware software platform Halcyon. “Month after month, more of these groups are coming online. This is a drastically growing problem.”

As the Costa Rican crisis continues, more knock-on effects are reaching citizens of the country. Statements made by Chaves put the number of government agencies hit at 27, including the finance ministry and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. One of the effects was that the government was unable to collect taxes through traditional means, Chaves said.

So far, the Costa Rican president has remained intransigent that the government will pay nothing to the ransomware gang. With neither side appearing to budge, the situation has reached a stand-off – but one that will be closely watched by other governments hoping to avoid a similar fate.



Source: The Verge

Popular posts from this blog

Apple and Meta Reportedly Discussed AI Partnership for iOS 18

Apple has held discussions with Meta about integrating the Facebook owner's AI model into iOS 18 as part of its Apple Intelligence feature set, according to a report over the weekend. Meta launched Llama 2, its large language model, in July 2023, and in April, the company released the latest versions of its AI models, called Llama 3 . The Wall Street Journal reports that the two longtime rivals have held talks about offering Meta's model as an additional option to OpenAI's ChatGPT. The paywalled report notes that the discussions haven't been finalized and could fall through. As part of Apple Intelligence, Apple has announced a partnership with OpenAI that will allow Siri to access ChatGPT directly in iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia to provide better responses in relevant situations. Using ChatGPT will be optional, so users with concerns about the technology can abstain and still make use of Apple's own new AI features. Speaking at WWDC 2024, Apple's

iPhone 13 Pro vs. iPhone 16 Pro: 60+ Upgrades to Expect

The iPhone 16 Pro is set to succeed 2023's iPhone 15 Pro , introducing over 25 new features and improvements to Apple's high-end smartphones. With many users adopting three-year upgrade cycles, plenty of iPhone 13 Pro owners will be looking to upgrade to the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ later this year, so this guide breaks down every major difference you should be aware of between the two generations based on rumors. The ‌‌iPhone 13‌‌ Pro debuted in 2021, introducing a brighter display with ProMotion technology for refresh rates up to 120Hz, the A15 Bionic chip, a telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, macro photography and photographic styles, Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field, ProRes video recording, a 1TB storage option, and up to five hours of additional battery life. Three years later, the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ is expected to offer over 60 upgrades. All of the changes the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ models are expected to feature compared to their 2021 predecessors

Here Are the macOS Sequoia Features Intel Macs Won't Support

When Apple released macOS Monterey in 2021, some key features required a Mac with Apple silicon. The same scenario played out with macOS Ventura in 2022, and then again the following year with the release of macOS Sonoma. With macOS Sequoia set to arrive in the fall, which new features can Intel Mac owners expect to be unavailable to them this time around? Apple says that macOS Sequoia is compatible with the same Macs as macOS Sonoma, but Apple's fine print reveals that certain new features won't work on Intel machines. If you're still on an Intel Mac, here's what you won't have access to. Apple Intelligence Apple Intelligence , a deeply integrated, personalized AI feature set for Apple devices that uses cutting-edge generative artificial intelligence to enhance the user experience, won't be available on Intel Macs. Apple says the advanced features require its M1 chip or later, so if your Mac was released before November 2020, you're out of luck. T

iPhone 16 Pro Models to Adopt 'M14' Advanced Samsung OLED Panels for Improved Brightness and Lifespan

The upcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be the first Apple smartphones to adopt Samsung's high performance "M14" OLED display panel, claims a new report coming out of South Korea. According to ETNews , Samsung's "M" series of OLED panels are made for flagship smartphones, while "14" refers to the number of high-performance materials used to produce them. "M14" is the first series of its kind, and the panel is said to have been developed to deliver superior brightness and longevity. Samsung has reportedly placed orders for the M14 materials and is preparing to mass produce the displays in the second half of the year for Apple's iPhone 16 Pro models. Google's Pixel 9 smartphone is the only other device that is expected to adopt the high-performance displays in 2024. A previous report out of China claimed that this year's ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ models will feature up to 1,200 nits of typical SDR brightness – a 20%