Colombia has reported a massive cyberattack affecting dozens of government websites and impacting countries across Latin America.
Local media said Thursday that key websites — such as the justice, health, and culture ministries as well as several hospitals — had been affected by a ransomware attack.
The presidency said in a statement Wednesday the attack had targeted the US-owned company IFX Networks, which provides web hosting services to 17 countries in the Americas.
President Gustavo Petro‘s government has put in place an emergency command post “to evaluate the damage and deal with the effects of the incident,” which began Tuesday.
The statement said the attack has affected 762 companies across Latin America.
Local media reported that 34 Colombian entities had been affected, as well as others in countries such as Argentina, Panama, and Chile.
“There is a significant amount of information in the hands of criminals,” who are demanding payment in cryptocurrencies, presidential digital advisor Saul Kattan told Noticias Caracol TV.
Ransomware attacks typically access vulnerable computer systems and encrypt or steal data, before sending a ransom note demanding payment in exchange for decrypting the data or not releasing it publicly.
“This can be considered the biggest attack on Colombian infrastructure in recent years,” Kattan wrote on social media.