LatinNews Daily - 18 May 2022

In brief: Payment of Costa Rican teachers affected by cyber attack

*Some 12,000 teachers have had issues regarding the payment of their salaries due to a massive ransomware attack on the finance ministry, according to a communique by Costa Rica’s education ministry (MEP) circulated in the local press. The announcement comes as Costa Rica’s new president, Rodrigo Chaves, was forced to admit that the number of institutions hit in a wave of cyber attacks in the past month by Russia-based cybercrime group Conti, has risen to 27, of which nine have been “very affected” – including the finance ministry. Upon taking office on 8 May, Chaves declared a cybersecurity emergency following the ransomware attacks which began on 12 April and which his predecessor, Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022) attributed to efforts to destabilise the country ahead of the transition of government. On 6 May the US State Department announced a US$10m reward for information leading to the identification and/or location of Conti leaders, citing the attacks on Costa Rica among other incidents. In response Conti was cited by the international media as saying that it was working with people inside the Costa Rican government and threatened to “overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack”, if its US$20m ransom demand was not met.

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