Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves accused Russia of orchestrating the cyberattacks that targeted various Costa Rican institutions last year. This information was disclosed during his official visit to Washington, D.C.
The president expanded on these claims during a cybersecurity event at the esteemed Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“We realized it was coming from Russia,” Chaves stated emphatically.
According to the President, the timing of the attacks raises questions and suspicions, as they came right when Costa Rica’s diplomatic team voiced criticisms against Russia’s controversial invasion of Ukraine.
Several of the cyberattacks focused on what Chaves described as “sensitive areas” within Costa Rica’s governmental framework. Institutions such as the Ministry of Finance, the customs system, and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) were major targets.
The ramifications of these attacks hindered the normal operations of the public intuitions for months and caused significant disruptions in essential services.
Chaves directly attributed these malicious activities to the Conti group, a cybercriminal organization known to operate from Russian territories.
He also mentioned that the hackers had demanded a “ransom.” He emphasized Costa Rica’s staunch position against complying with such demands. Complying with the ransom would have necessitated unique legislative measures, indicating the severity and magnitude of the cyber threat.
Both the United States and Spain extended invaluable assistance in helping Costa Rica trace the origins of these cyberattacks. The importance of international cooperation was further underlined with the US announcing various disbursements to aid Costa Rica in the development of robust cybersecurity infrastructure and protocols.
The gravity of the situation had previously been discussed during a visit by General Laura Richardson, Commander of the Southern Command, to Costa Rica. This time, the US Deputy National Security Advisor, Anne Newberger, stated that assistance should not only address financial aspects, but rather a holistic approach encompassing diplomacy, security, and infrastructure resilience was needed.
Cybersecurity remains a challenge for the country, but with resilient technological infrastructure, not only can Costa Rica strengthen its defenses but also become an attractive prospect for U.S. investments, strengthening ties between the two nations.