Geopolitics and Cybersecurity Weekly Brief – 23 August 2021

In the Americas, T-Mobile US announced that millions of customers’ personal data was compromised in a major cyberattack it first became aware of late last week. In Cuba, the government issued a decree introducing new restrictions on internet usage, including stricter controls on the use of social media.

Two attacks on US government departments were announced this week. The US State Department was hit by an unspecified cyberattack, with the Department of Defense Cyber Command warning of the possible serious breach of data. And the US Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General revealed that the US Census Bureau servers were compromised on 11 January 2020.

In Asia, US software maker Business Efficiency Solutions (BES) filed a lawsuit accusing Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei of stealing technology in a move that will deepen concern over Beijing’s alleged access to data from Chinese technology firms and attendant national security risks.

Over $80 million in digital assets has reportedly been stolen from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid Global. The incident was disclosed early on 19 August. Liquid Global has yet to confirm the exact amount stolen.

In Europe, a propaganda campaign linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reportedly used a network of hundreds of websites and social media accounts to attack the BBC in an effort to undermine the credibility of its reporting. A number of accounts on social media platform Snapchat are selling fraudulent COVID-19 health certificates to French users.

In the Middle East and Central Asia, local media has reported on the elevated risks of blackmail facing women across the Middle East and North Africa who were targeted for surveillance by governments using the Pegasus spyware. The Turkmenistan government has reportedly been forcing internet users to swear on the Quran that they will not use virtual private networks (VPNs).

A new Iranian state-sponsored intrusion campaign has been attributed to an APT called SiameseKitten. The group has launched targeted attacks on IT companies in Israel since at least May.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the opposition leader was declared president-elect in Zambia’s election, raising political risks.

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