Cyber attacks on Costa Rica prompt action from carriers

Truck with MAERSK container on the A 61 motorway near Ludwigshafen (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, March 08, 2022)

Ransomware cyber attacks on Costa Rican institutions have activated emergency measures across the shipping industry, as imports and exports have been heavily affected.

Following a decree issued by the Customs Authority in Costa Rica pertaining to all carriers transporting dry import cargo to Caldera Port (Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Caldera, SPC), Danish shipping company Maersk has announced new procedures for customs clearance at the port.

Amongst other measures, Maersk wrote that dangerous cargo or IMO and refrigerated cargo must not leave the port zone to a Transitory Depot (TD) and will require pick-up directly from terminal.

In addition, Maersk will apply a transportation fee of $107 per container covering transportation costs from Caldera Port terminal to its authorised TDs.

Fees pertaining container storage import will also be applicable, covering manoeuvring and storage costs inside the terminal.

Several Costa Rican government agencies – including the Finance Ministry – have been severely impacted after the attack perpetrated by Russian cybercriminal gang Conti in mid-April.

New President, Rodrigo Chaves, declared a state of emergency on 8 May – a week after he was sworn in – and further reported on 16 May that the number of struck institutions has grown to 27.

The country’s tax collection system for importation and exportation has been taken down, spreading chaos across institutions as Conti warned it was working with people inside the Government.

Speaking at a news conference, Science and Technology Minister Carlos Henry Alvarado said the governments of Israel, US, and Spain have provided assistance to help protect Costa Rican computer systems and repair the damage.

A new report from maritime cyber security company CyberOwl recently disclosed that shipowners pay around $3.1 million on average per ransom attack.

On 22 June 2022, PTI will be holding its first ever Cybersecurity for Ports & Terminals Conference. Featuring discussions from industry leaders, the online event will provide the perfect stage for learning and knowledge sharing, to create a more cyber-resilient industry.

Registration for the event can be done here.

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