Global Security Matters
- Law enforcement has seized the illegal dark web marketplace “Monopoly Market” and arrested 288 suspects involved in buying or selling drugs on the dark web in an operation coordinated by Europol with nine countries. More than EUR 50.8 million (USD 53.4 million) in cash and virtual currencies was seized, along with 850 kg of drugs and 117 firearms. The operation, codenamed SpecTor, was composed of a series of separate complementary actions in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland.
Military and Defense
- President Joe Biden and South Korea’s Yoon Suk Yeol presented a new nuclear deterrence plan in which the US would periodically dock nuclear-armed submarines in South Korea and bolster training between the two countries. President Biden stated that a nuclear attack by North Korea would be unacceptable and “will result in the end of whatever regime were to take such an action.” Kim Jong-Un’s sister criticized the new US-South Korean nuclear deterrence agreement and said that President Biden’s comment is a “nonsensical remark from the person in his dotage.” She also explained that with more nuclear war exercises “the stronger the exercise of our right to self-defense will become in direct proportion to them.”
- Five people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed in a mass shooting in Texas after neighbors asked the suspect to stop shooting a semiautomatic rifle in his front yard in Cleveland, Texas because it was keeping their baby awake. The FBI in Houston has said investigators have “zero leads” in their search and have offered up to $80,000 in reward for information.
- In separate attacks in Nigeria, gunmen killed 15 villagers and abducted five aid workers. In Benue, the gunmen opened fire on villagers in the Apa area in the latest in a spiral of attacks. While no group has claimed responsibility, authorities are blaming Fulani herdsmen fighting over limited water and land. Over 80 people have been killed in Benue in April from such attacks. In Ngala, Borno state, five aid workers of the international non-government organization FHI 360 were abducted by Islamic extremists.
- The Marshall Island flagged vessel Advantage Sweet has been seized by Iranian soldiers. Iran claims the tanker failed to stop after being involved in a fatal collision with a fishing boat. However, new reports are tying the seizure to a US effort to seize an Iranian oil cargo on a Greek-operated tanker. Additionally, US Congress is pressing the Biden administration to increase seizures of Iranian oil and take a more active role in protecting the Middle East from Iranian maritime threats.
- Killnet, a pro-Russian group, has announced they are now a “private military hacker company.” The group’s leader posted on Telegram that “KillNet’s altruism has come to an end.” The group is known for targeting organizations supporting Ukraine with DDoS attacks and for its recent leak of stolen data that allegedly belonged to thousands of individuals with ties to NATO.
- As tensions rise between the US, China, and Taiwan, US lawmakers introduced a bill that would strengthen Taiwan’s cyber defenses. The Taiwan Cybersecurity Resiliency Act would require the Department of Defense to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan in the cyber sphere. This would include cyber training exercises and aiding the defense of Taiwan’s military networks and infrastructure. China allegedly launched approximately 20 to 40 million cyberattacks every month in 2019 against Taiwan.
Covid-19 & Pandemics
- The US will stop requiring most foreign air travelers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The requirement will cease on May 11, the same day vaccine rules for federal employees and contractors end.
- Japan declared that starting May 8, 2023, Covid-19’s legal status will be downgraded to a common disease like seasonal flu.
- US Department of State Travel Advisories
- CISA: nation-state cybersecurity threats and other resources for cybersecurity matters.
- Our most recent blog post looks at how to ‘spy’ a fake social media profile.