Conti Ransomware gang threatens to overthrow the government of Costa Rica

Breaking News Cyber Crime Hacking Malware

The Conti ransomware gang is threatening to ‘overthrow’ the new government of Costa Rica after last month’s attack.

Last month, the Conti ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the attack on Costa Rica government infrastructure after that the government refused to pay a ransom.

“The Costa Rican state will not pay anything to these cybercriminals.” said Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado.

Costa Rica Conti ransomware

The attack impacted multiple government services from the Finance Ministry to the Labor Ministry.

“The initial attack forced the Finance Ministry to shut down for several hours the system responsible for the payment of a good part of the country’s public employees, which also handles government pension payments. It also has had to grant extensions for tax payments.” reads the post published by the Associated Press.

Now the Conti ransomware gang is threatening to “overthrow” the new government of the country.

“We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power,” reads a statement published by the gang on its leak site.

“We have our insiders in your government, I recommend that your responsible contact UNC1756, there is less than a week left when we destroy your keys, we are also working on gaining access to your other systems, you have no other options but to pay us, we know that you have hired a data recovery specialist, don’t try to find workarounds, I communicate with everyone in this area of business, I have insiders even in your government! I once again appeal to the residents of Costa Rica go out on the street and demand payment Another attempt to get in touch through other services will be punished by deleting the key”

The gang claims to have insiders in the government and revealed that the attack was carried out by an affiliate group tracked as UNC1756. Now the Conti ransomware gang is demanding a $20 million ransom (initially the group asked for the payment of $10M) for the decryption keys to recover the impacted systems.

The group warns that it will delete the decryption keys in a week, if it will happen, it will be impossible to recover the encrypted files. The group is trying to make pressure on the government by sending a message to its citizens:

“I appeal to every resident of Costa Rica, go to your government and organize rallies so that they would pay us as soon as possible, if your current government cannot stabilize the situation? maybe it’s worth changing it?” reads the message

Recently the Conti ransomware gang added the Peru MOF – Dirección General de Inteligencia (DIGIMIN) to the list of its victims on its Tor leak site. The National Directorate of Intelligence is the premier intelligence agency in Peru. The agency is responsible for national, military and police intelligence, as well as counterintelligence. The ransomware gang claimed to have stolen 9.41 GB of data.

The US Department of State offers up to $15 million for information that helps identify and locate leadership and co-conspirators of the Conti ransomware gang.

The reward is offered under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP).

The authorities are offering up to $10 million for information that could allow identifying individuals who hold a key leadership position in the Conti ransomware gang, while an additional $5 million are offered for information that could lead to the arrest and/or conviction of any individual in any country conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in a Conti variant ransomware incident.

“The Department of State is offering a reward of up to $10,000,000 for information leading to the identification and/or location of any individual(s) who hold a key leadership position in the Conti ransomware variant transnational organized crime group.” wrote State Department spokesman Ned Price. “In addition, the Department is also offering a reward of up to $5,000,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of any individual in any country conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in a Conti variant ransomware incident.”

The Conti ransomware group breached hundreds of organizations over the past two years. The FBI estimates that as of January 2022, the gang obtained $150,000,000 in ransom payments from over 1,000 victims.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Conti ransomware)

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