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Weekly Spotlight: 31 December 2023

1.      Trinidad and Tobago Social Security Agency Suffers Cyber-Atack

On 26 December 2023, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Insurance Board (NIBTT) suffered a ransomware attack, causing the agency’s offices to be closed from 27-29 December. Whilst the hackers’ identity and full extent of the breach remain unconfirmed as of writing, NIBTT officials confirmed in a public statement that “the company is currently assessing our systems after having experienced a ransomware attack,” adding that “all steps are being taken to protect our data integrity and technology hardware.” In response, the NIBTT immediately reported the incident to the Trinidad and Tobago Cyber Security Incident Response Team (TT-CSIRT), who have since initiated a full investigation.


2.      Massacres Recorded in Nigeria’s Plateau State

During the evening hours (local time) of 24 December, unidentified militants staged several coordinated massacres in population centres throughout Plateau State, drawing strong condemnation from federal security authorities.  Specifically, gunmen opened fire against civilians and burnt houses in the Barkin Ladi, Mangu, and Bokkos local government areas, resulting in an estimated total death toll of 195 and the destruction of 1,290 homes. A statement given by Debo Adeniran, Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), described the attacks as “condemnable, senseless, barbaric, unacceptable, and uncalled for.”


3.      Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Recommends Expanding North Rift Valley Security Operation

Kithure Kindiki, Kenya’s Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary, has recommended the extensions of a security operation currently underway in the North Rift Valley to the counties of Marsabit, Isiolo, and Meru in 2024. Mr Kindiki argues that Operation Maliza Uhalifu, which was established by the Kenyan government to combat illegal animal theft and targeted attacks against police officers in the North Rift Valley, could have success in neighbouring regions facing similar emerging security threats. Furthermore, Mr Kindiki appealed to Regional Commissioner for Rift Valley Abdi Hassan to help authorities identify and map strategic areas within the Marsabit-Meru corridor to target criminal organisations involved in cattle rustling, which continues to impact communities throughout the region.


4.      Security Forces Kill Five Militants in North-Western Pakistan

On 30 December 2023, Pakistani security forces killed five militants during a counterterrorism operation in the North Waziristan district of Khyber Pakhtunkwha province. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Office, the media wing of the Pakistani military, confirmed in a public statement that the operation was conducted in the Mir Ali area of the North Waziristan district, where an exchange of gunfire resulted in the death of a terrorist commander known by the alias Khoray. According to the ISPR, the militants were involved in conducting terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and in running large-scale extortion and racketeering operations.


5.      Singapore Seeks Public Consultation on New Cybersecurity Legislation

On 28 December 2023, the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore announced its intention to launch a public consultation to seek feedback on its draft Cybersecurity Bill 2023. The changes proposed in this bill include measures such as accounting for the increasing number of cloud systems operated independently from service providers, expanding the scope of the law’s definition of what constitutes critical information infrastructure (CII), and establishing more robust corporate regulations for detecting and reporting cybersecurity breaches. This public consultation will run parallel to a consultation conducted by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, which aims to seek feedback on a proposed framework to govern the safe collection, storage, and use of healthcare data.


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