Although the amount in bitcoin that criminals demanded to release the information is unknown, no payment was made by the authorities

Recently, it was known that some hackers would have carried out an attack with a computer virus on the information systems of the Quindío governorate, in Colombia. As a result of the attack, the criminals stole vital information from all the archives and all the secretariats subscribed to the department. Those responsible for the fact demanded a payment in bitcoin to return all this data.

Local media reported that all stolen data was retained by the attackers for approximately 5 hours. Jhon Mario Liévano Fernández, who is secretary of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of Quindío, explained that thanks to the expertise and hard work of their technicians they managed to disable the attack by separating the server that was affected from the rest of the system. Which helped to recover the information without major problems.

According to sources linked to the authorities, the digital virus retained all the information that was on the server and, through a text message, they announced the event. Liévano mentioned that the attackers demanded bitcoin to recover that data.

Although no details were given on how the governorate had to pay the ransom or the amount that the hackers demanded, they said they did not agree to such demands and that they directly attacked the problem, recovering all the intact information, and preventing criminals from having access to records and documents of importance.

Due to this event, José Luis Ramírez Hinestroza, who is the commander of the local police department, said there was no major damage to regret after the attack. He added that thanks to the efficient response of the authorities, the hackers could not make copies of the files or steal valuable data.

In more specific statements, Harold Gomajoa, coordinator of the area of ​​cybercrime, explained that recently these types of attacks have been increasing in the country and that the use of potentially dangerous viruses has been focused on stealing sensitive information.

Gomajoa gave an example of this by mentioning that they have been using false information related to Covid-19 to capture people and thus steal valuable data from their digital devices.

They usually have the same modus operandi and only seek rewards for the return of the information. They demand, in most cases, deposits in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The Use of Bitcoin in Digital Crimes Increases in Latin America

On other occasions, cases similar to what happened in the Quindía government have been reported. Police sources in Colombia have published several warnings about this type of crime. The digital scam is becoming an increasingly common problem.

Colonel Iván Santamaría, who is the operational commander of Citizen Security, explained that this type of information theft scams to demand a ransom in digital currencies was called Spoofing, and can easily be avoided if the person knows how to interact on the Internet and how to avoid some risks.

Not only in Colombia exist cases of this nature. In Latin American countries, the number of cases where hackers demand large sums of digital money is growing. A clear example of this happened at the end of 2019 when, through an attack against the Data Center servers, in a town in Argentina, hackers managed to steal more than 7 thousand GB of valuable data, which allowed criminals to ask for up to 50 BTC to give back the information.

In news related to this type of crime, an investigation carried out by the FBI and the National Office of Investigation of the United States, showed that during these last 6 years the thefts of data through computer virus have accumulated almost 144 million dollars in rescue payments using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

By María Rodríguez


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