Hive ransomware gang hit Costa Rica public health service

Pierluigi Paganini June 01, 2022

Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Costa Rica ‘s public health service, was hit by a Hive ransomware attack.

Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Costa Rica ‘s public health service (aka CCCS), was hit today by a Hive ransomware attack, BleepingComputer reported.

The attack occurred early this morning, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. The authorities are investigating the security breach, but the public health service confirmed that the attack did not impact the EDUS (Unified Digital Health) and the SICERE (Centralized Tax-Collection System) databases, it also added that the incident did not compromise payroll and pension services.

The CCCS asked its employees to disconnect their computers from the internal networks, some of them reported that the printers inside the agency began printing pages with ransom ASCII.

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 attack impacted multiple government services, including CCSS, the Finance Ministry and the Labor Ministry. The Conti ransomware gang also threatened to “overthrow” the new government of the country.

The list of government entities hit by Conti affiliates also includes the country’s Ministry of Finance, its Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology, and Telecommunications, and the Social Development and Family Allowances Fund (FODESAF).

The gang claimed 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.

BleepingComputer pointed out that after Conti announced the shutting down of its operations, some of its members have joined Hive group and both gangs have begun leaking the victims’ data on both dark web leak sites.

This week, Cyber Research Labs reported to have observed a rise in ransomware attacks in the second quarter of 2022, some of them with a severe impact on the victims, such as the attack that hit the Costa Rican government that caused a nationwide crisis.

The experts warn of ransomware attacks against government organizations. They observed a total of 48 government organizations from 21 countries that were hit by 13 ransomware attacks in 2022.

Cyble researchers warn that cybercriminal organizations have changed tactics, switching from businesses to small states threatening to subvert government apparatus.

Small states are easy targets due to the low level of security of their critical infrastructure due to the low budget to protect them.

In August 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a flash alert on the Hive ransomware attacks that includes technical details and indicators of compromise associated with the operations of the gang.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Costa Rica)

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