NBC News: Costa Rica declares state of emergency over ransomware attack

Costa Rica has declared a state of emergency after ransomware hackers crippled computer networks across multiple government agencies, including the Finance Ministry.

The official declaration, published on a government website Wednesday, said that the attack was “unprecedented in the country” and that it interrupted the country’s tax collection and exposed citizens’ personal information.

The hackers initially broke into the Finance Ministry on April 12, it said. They were able to spread to other agencies, including the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications and the National Meteorological Institute.

Leon Weinstok, the director of the Costa Rica office of the law firm BLP, who specializes in cybersecurity law, said the attack had severely affected the country’s ability to function.

“The government has been really, really affected. It is impossible to quantify the losses at this time,” Weinstok said.