On July 13, 2022, Belisario Contreras was featured on Latin America in Focus, a podcast by Americas Society/Council of the Americas (As/COA) that covers the latest trends in Latin American politics, economics, and culture. He discussed how a series of cyber attacks pummeled Costa Rica in April 2022, and Latin America's levels of preparedness for cybercrime.
According to the podcast, Costa Rica was the victim of a massive cyberattack that lasted over two months. The attack, perpetrated mainly by the pro-Russia Conti criminal gang, paralyzed all kinds of operations in the country, with over 30 ministries targeted. Government employees couldn't get paid. Trade halted. Thousands of doctors' appointments were canceled. Conti initially asked for a ransom of $10 million. Costa Rica refused to pay, and the attacks ended up costing the country roughly $30 million a day.
Contreras explained vulnerabilities in cybersecurity—as the case of Costa Rica shows—can cover all sectors, including finance, energy, and health. Knowing that, he said, governments, large multinationals, small businesses, and consumers alike must all take steps to be prepared, especially in the digital era. “Every day technology is evolving—and the threats are evolving.”
Click here to access the podcast.