In a significant move towards bolstering cybersecurity and digital infrastructure, the United States has announced a generous donation of $25 million to Costa Rica. This initiative, announced jointly by the Costa Rican Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology, and Telecommunications (MICITT) and the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, aims to enhance the country’s defenses against cyber threats.
Paula Bogantes, Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology, and Telecommunications, emphasized the importance of the U.S. government’s support for Costa Rica. She acknowledged that leveraging the experience of a friendly country with a strong track record and leadership in cybersecurity would be instrumental in advancing Costa Rica’s capabilities in this critical field.
The donation will play a pivotal role in the implementation of Costa Rica’s National Cybersecurity Strategy. It will facilitate the establishment of a Security Operations Center equipped with necessary licenses and state-of-the-art equipment. This center will strengthen monitoring, prevention, detection, investigation, and response to cyber threats.
Regrettably, Costa Rica has fallen victim to various criminal attacks that have disrupted the functioning of key institutions and compromised private information. The Conti Group and Hive ransomware groups targeted the Ministry of Finance and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund in major cyber-attacks in 2022. Minister Bogantes expressed gratitude for the willingness of the United States to collaborate on an issue that had not previously received sufficient attention as a national priority.
To execute these actions, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Cyberspace and Digital Policy will collaborate closely with MICITT. Immediate support for cybersecurity training operations, equipment, software, and other essential tools will be provided, alongside long-term capacity-building efforts. U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Cynthia Telles stressed that this cooperation agreement reflects the shared commitment of the United States and Costa Rica to a secure nation and region.
Costa Rica’s Computer Security Incident Response Center, overseen by MICITT, dealt with over 700,000 cybersecurity alerts between May and December 2022 alone. Therefore, strengthening the country’s response capabilities in this area is of paramount importance to prevent further incidents and uphold national security.
Anne Neuberger, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies, acknowledged that the cyber-attacks suffered by Costa Rica have not only harmed government institutions but also the Costa Rican people. She emphasized the deep concern of the United States regarding this issue.
Neuberger underscored President Joe Biden’s commitment to the security of allies and partners, as demonstrated by this cybersecurity assistance package. The United States stands firmly with Costa Rica, dedicated to safeguarding and fortifying its democracy by promoting secure, open, and reliable digital technology.
With the substantial support from the United States, Costa Rica is poised to enhance its cybersecurity infrastructure and strengthen its ability to combat cyber threats. This partnership underscores the shared goal of ensuring a secure and prosperous future for both nations while exemplifying the importance of international cooperation in addressing the evolving challenges of the digital age.