A New Stance on Cybersecurity: Costa Rican Government Takes Firm Action to Enhance National Cybersecurity Posture

By Alex Passett September 07, 2023

In March, Axios reported on the U.S. having granted Costa Rica $25 million to bolster its cybersecurity efforts. Axios author Sam Sabin wrote, “Costa Rica has now faced a series of ransomware attacks that have affected the country’s public health system, as well as its finance ministry, Social Security program and transportation agency – resulting in a delay in government employee paychecks, resident tax filings and more.” Sadly, Costa Rica even had to declare a full state of emergency after a cybersecurity attack; sadly, it ended with a $20 million extortion payout, according to NBC News.

To call these “troubling events,” as many have, is accurate. However, it’s also a gigantic understatement. Costa Rica requires funding for a new SoC, per a Costa Rican official, inside its Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications. It’s very much a must.

Well, we’ve now got an update on this Costa Rican cyber-reinforcement effort:

Yesterday, the Telecommunications Industry Association, or TIA (News - Alert) – currently hailed as a “highly trusted association for the connected world” – officially announced its support for Costa Rica’s government, signaling a new push to further strengthen its national cybersecurity posture.

During a recent meeting at the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden had the chance to meet with Costa Rica’s President Rodrigo Chaves. The two discussed how important bilateral cybersecurity cooperation is, and Chaves emphasized how determined Costa Rica is to “lead by example” following the slew of disruptive attacks. Protecting critical infrastructure is vital, and now more actions are expected to be taken.

They include:

  • Firmly committing to partnering with trusted providers
  • Procuring 5G telco equipment from companies in democratic countries
  • Issuing security guidance with new mandates for vendors

Hover on that last point, for a moment. In terms of mandates, vendors will become fully certified; this will include the first-ever Supply Chain Security Management standard for the ICT industry – TIA SCS 9001 – thus demonstrating Costa Rica’s dedication to higher levels of national security.

“This strategic approach to securing its critical infrastructure by design reflects Costa Rica's forward-thinking mindset and strengthens the foundation for a technologically advanced future,” said Dave Stehlin, CEO, TIA. “We commend the Costa Rican and U.S. governments as they each demonstrate leadership in the critical area of cyber and supply chain risk management.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this news as it evolves.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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