SAN JOSE (Reuters) – The number of Costa Rican institutions hit by a wave of cyberattacks over the past month has risen to 27, President Rodrigo Chaves said on Monday, in one of the first challenges facing the new leader during of his first month. in the office.
He added that nine of the institutions hit, mostly government agencies, are considered “heavily affected”.
The attacks have had a “huge” impact on foreign trade and tax revenue in the Central American country, Chaves acknowledged in comments to reporters just a week after he was sworn in as president.
In mid-April, the government of incumbent President Carlos Alvarado reported hacker attacks on the country’s finance ministry, which spread to other state institutions after authorities refused to pay a ransom. of $10 million demanded by the Russian hacker group Conti.
“We are at war and that is no exaggeration,” Chaves said during his May 8 inauguration, as he announced a national state of emergency.
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Chaves did not provide an updated list of institutions targeted by hackers.
Speaking at the same press conference, Science and Technology Minister Carlos Henry Alvarado said the governments of Israel, the United States and Spain had provided assistance to help protect the Costa Rica’s computer systems and to repair the damage.
The extent of the damage is not yet known, Alvarado said.
The attacks forced the Ministry of Finance to disable Costa Rica’s tax collection systems, although a replacement platform allowed some customs transactions to proceed, Chaves said.
The president also accused his fellow Costa Ricans of “betraying the country” and the previous administration of withholding information about the attacks, saying there were signs some locals were collaborating with hackers.
(Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Bill Berkrot)
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