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10 things you need to know this month

10 things you need to know this month

  • 01. The Nigerian government arrested and handed over the fishing vessel, Marine 707, to the Ghanaian authorities on 18 May. Nigeria also handed over its 51 crew members including 48 Ghanaians and three South Korean nationals to the governments of Ghana and Korea respectively. Investigations are ongoing into Marine 707’s connections to piracy, however it did break international laws by shutting down its Automatic Identification System (AIS) 36 times in the last 6 months.
  • 02. Criminals demanded over US$1million in bitcoin ransom following a cyber attack on a firm that delivers protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis owned by Kent County Council (KCS). According to KCS, no ransom was paid and no personal data relating to taxpayers was stolen.
  • 03. At least 16 sailors were abducted in pirate attacks on three vessels off the coasts of Nigeria and Gabon between 30 April and 4 May 2020. This includes the kidnapping of 10 crewmembers from a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker off Nigeria and six fisherman off the coast of Gabon.
  • 04. In May, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, a law firm in the USA, has had 756 gigabytes of data including contracts and personal emails hacked. The firm, who represents a number of high profile individuals, says it has notified its clients and is working with cybersecurity experts.
  • 05. According to cyber security company VMware Carbon Black, cyber attacks against the financial sector rose 238% from February to April 2020, amid the COVID-19 surge. Furthermore they note a correlation between notable coronavirus-related news and the timing of cyber attacks.
  • 06. Italian aid worker, Silvia Romano, who was abducted in Kenya in November 2018, was released on 9 May. Italy's secret service said to have been assisted by Turkey and Somalia to secure her release. The risk of attacks and kidnappings in Somalia-Kenya border counties and northern coastal towns remains elevated.
  • 07. Fourteen nurses who travelled to Mexico City in May to support the COVID-19 response were subjected to a “virtual kidnapping”. They were persuaded to stay in their hotel while criminals contacted their families making undisclosed ransom demands. Police officers rescued the nurses 15 hours later.
  • 08. Honda confirmed it was the subject of a cyber-attack in June. In a statement it said the attack affected “its ability to access its computer servers, use email and otherwise make use of its internal systems”. There are no further details at this stage.
  • 09. A Thai political activist was abducted at gunpoint in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 5 June. Wanchalerm Satsaksit fled Thailand after the 2014 military coup. In exile he was charged by Thai authorities for violating a Computer Crime Act by operating a Facebook page critical of the military government. Human rights groups have accused Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand of helping each other to forcibly return political dissidents.
  • 10. People are being warned to be wary of scammers pretending to be from the NHS contact tracing. Contact tracing asks people who have tested positive to share the details of others who they have been in contact with. The NHS has written specific guidelines on how they will contact people in the Test & Trace scheme.

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