Geopolitical and Cybersecurity Weekly Brief – 7 June 2021

In the Americas, the US National Security Council urged companies to take ‘critical steps’ to protect against ‘serious’ and ‘increasing’ cybersecurity threats. A ransomware attack targeting the world’s largest meat supplier, Brazil-headquartered JBS, has led to significant disruption to the company’s operations in the US, Canada, and Australia. The FBI confirmed that the Russian-linked ransomware, REvil, was responsible for the attack. JBS has stated that it has returned to full operational capacity.

In Asia, major Taiwananese chip packager King Yuan Electronics on Friday (4 June) said it will suspend production for two days after a number of employees at its factory in the city of Miaoli became infected with COVID-19. China’s General Administration of Customs listed 81 items imported by firms including Nike, H&M, and Zara, accusing the Western fashion retailers of selling products that could be harmful to children.

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee has suffered a data breach after unauthorised access was likely gained through an information-sharing tool developed by Fujitsu Ltd. The compromise involved personal information belonging to 170 security management professionals who participated in a training event hosted by Japan’s national cybersecurity centre.

In Europe, the Italian unit of UK-headquartered telecommunications company Vodafone secured conditional approval from the government to use components manufactured by China-based firm Huawei in its radio access network. Flights between Germany and Russia resumed after both countries briefly suspended air connections amid a diplomatic dispute relating to the situation in Belarus.

The Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) has shut down the country’s infectious diseases database, SmiNet, after it was hit by multiple cyber-intrusion attempts. The database is also used to store electronic reports about COVID-19 stats, which were unavailable since mid-afternoon on 26 May.

In the Middle East and Central Asia, the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC), the official government department handling cybersecurity, issued a warning regarding a new cryptocurrency, DubaiCoin, saying it is a scam. The Iranian navy said one of its biggest vessels – the Kharg – had sunk near the Iranian port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman after a fire under unclear circumstances.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Chad’s ministry of defence accused the Central African Republic (CAR) of committing war crimes on its territory amid mounting bilateral tensions. The French ministry of the armed forces announced a temporary suspension of joint operations with the Malian military following the second coup.

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