Last spring, The Costa Rican government has suffered a series of ransomware attacks that have crippled critical systems around the country. Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chavez Rubel declared a state of emergency as exports, health care and other public services were disrupted, and recovery has been a months-long challenge. Nearly a year after the crisis began, a senior White House official told reporters today that the United States plans to provide Costa Rica with $25 million in cybersecurity assistance to strengthen its digital infrastructure.
The grant includes funding to establish a center for security operations within the Costa Rican Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Communications. This will expand the nation’s ability to systematically upgrade critical infrastructure defenses, detect hacks, and coordinate disaster response across the government. The funding includes cyber security training as well as hardware and software licenses for secure devices.
A senior Biden administration official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, is in Costa Rica to meet with Chave about aid from the US State Department. Costa Rica is hosting the 2023 Foreign Affairs Summit for Democracy this week.
The official told reporters last summer that the U.S. government had provided a similar $25 million grant to Albania in response to last summer’s devastating crackdown on Iranian infiltrators.
“at the time [of the ransomware attacks]A US official told reporters that we immediately deployed a team of US experts in Costa Rica’s recovery and have been working closely with the country since then – and we recognize that this additional stability requires this additional assistance.
The official said the Biden administration is selecting recipients of cybersecurity funding “based on the significance of the attacks.” Iran’s cyber attack on Albania is notable for its attack on a NATO member. Meanwhile, Chavez and other members of the Costa Rican government have indicated that the attack on their network may be a response to Costa Rica’s support for Ukraine by notorious Russian-based cybercriminal groups.
The attack on Costa Rica was led by the cybercriminal group Conti and his associates. The group demanded a $20 million ransom and uploaded hundreds of gigabytes of data stolen in the attack to the dark web. And the group was clear about its destructive intent. “We are determined to overthrow the government through cyber attacks,” he wrote in a letter to Costa Rica and US terrorists (Biden and his administration). At the time of the attack, the US State Department offered a total reward of $15 million for information leading to Conti’s arrest.
In recent years, as digital threats have intensified, the US has focused on launching initiatives to bring the global community together against ransomware and other cybercrimes.
In today’s environment, we recognize the importance of supporting the security of our partners and allies. moving