By Alvaro Murillo
SAN JOSE (Reuters) – A cyberattack struck Costa Rica’s hospitals and clinics early Tuesday morning, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) said, the latest in a string of hacks targeting the Central American country in recent weeks.
The cyberattack forced the CCSS to shut down its digital record-keeping system, affecting some 1,200 hospitals and clinics and potentially impacting care for thousands of patients, according to the public health agency.
“It was an exceptionally violent attack, but we have no evidence that a critical database or system was compromised,” said CCSS President Alvaro Ramos in a news conference, adding that 30 of the 1,500 servers owned by the CCSS were affected.
The national health platform is expected to be down for several days, Ramos said.
Costa Rica reported that it has been recently targeted in dozens of cyberattacks, which have frozen some foreign trade and tax collection operations, prompting President Rodrigo Chaves to declare a national emergency on May 8, the day of his inauguration.
In early May, the U.S. State Department attributed other recent attacks on Costa Rica’s government agencies to the alleged Russian-based ransomware group, Conti. No person or group has taken credit for the recent hit to the healthcare system, Ramos said.
Officials said the United States, along with the governments of Israel and Spain, have offered assistance to repair damages and to repel future attacks.
(Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Writing by Kylie Madry)