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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

US offers reward for hackers behind Costa Rica attack

The United States offered up to $10 million for information on the Russian-linked Conti hacking group accused of carrying out an attack in Costa Rica last month.

The State Department said it will give rewards of up to $10 million for information identifying or locating the leaders of the hacker group, and up to $5 million for information leading to their arrest or conviction.

The FBI estimates that Conti data hijackers (ransomware) have left more than 1,000 victims as of January, with payouts of more than $150 million.

The payments make the “Conti ransomware variant the most costly strain ever documented,” the State Department said.

“By offering this reward, the United States is demonstrating its commitment to protecting potential ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals,” it added.

He noted that Conti’s alleged orchestration last month with its attack on Costa Rican government institutions severely hampered government tax and customs processes.

Little is known publicly about the Conti group’s leadership, but an unusual leak in February provided some clues.

The leak apparently came thanks to Conti’s stated support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as one person posted internal messages from the group along with pro-Ukrainian tweets. 

Findings by analysts who reviewed the documents included that Conti has physical offices in Russia.

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