White House deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger announced on Wednesday that the US government will provide $25 million in aid to Costa Rica over two years to strengthen cyber security in the country.
In May 2022, Costa Rica was targeted by cyber attacks by a Russian-based group known as Conti. In the case, the group attacked 30 national institutions such as the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Labor and Finance.
In them, they approached the tax authorities of the country and the declarations of foreign trade, which led to the paralysis of the collection system and the suspension of the payment of the salaries of public employees. One month after the cyberattacks, in which criminals demanded up to $20 million to release stolen information, President Rodrigo Chaves declared a state of emergency.
We came to “this commitment” because we saw the scale of cyber criminals against Costa Rica. We have seen President Chaves declare a case of necessity and make this request. Because Costa Rica is a truly valuable partner and friend of the US, we are stepping in to fulfill this role of helping provide resources that increase technical expertise and ensure that both the people of Costa Rica and the government work safely,” Neuberger said.
The current assignment, he added, seeks to cover three aspects of recovery in Costa Rica. First, they will build security operations in the central region that will work with the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Communications to detect, prevent and respond to cyber attacks.
“Security Operations will also coordinate among those departments and agencies operating and investigate any potential cyber threats against the government or critical infrastructure,” the official explained.
Costs will include cybersecurity training, technical support, and licensing of cyber protection software.
Neuberger said data analysis suggests that in “many countries” the price of being a victim of ransomware, a type of malicious software used to hijack information, can range from tens of millions to billions of dollars. “Not being able to recover from society or the government is the most important thing.”
“Ie cyber security really gives the security assistance of the US government to Costa Rica as a valued partner and partner and certainly a valuable friend. As well as sharing best practices to ensure a secure digital infrastructure,” added Neuberger.
In addition, it was announced that Costa Rica has requested to join the US Global Initiative against Ransomware, a program that includes 36 countries to “work on concrete actions to protect citizens and cybercriminal organizations”.
Both announcements were made within the framework of the Summit for Democracy, in which Costa Rica is participating as one of the four host countries.
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