NEWS

Morning Security Brief: Iraqi Cleric Urges Action, FCC Tells Telecom Industry to Increase Cybersecurity, And More

By Megan Gates

 ► A group of Iraq’s senior Shiite leaders called on Iraqis to assist the government in fighting Sunni militants who have taken control of broad portions of the nation. In a statement today, senior Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said it was “the legal and national responsibility of whoever can hold a weapon, to hold it to defend the country, the citizens, and the holy sites,” of Iraq, according to The New York Times. The request came as militants had taken temporary control of two more towns near the Iranian border, Saadiyah and Jalawla, before being forced to retreat by Iraqi troops.

► The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has warned communication companies to “take cybersecurity more seriously if they want to avoid new regulations on their networks,” The Wall Street Journal reports. To encourage cybersecurity measures, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined a voluntary approach at the American Enterprise Institute that relies on companies to take the initiative to ensure their networks are secure from attacks. “The communications sector is at a critical juncture,” Wheeler said. “We know there are threats to the communications networks upon which we all rely. We know those threats are growing. And we have agreed that industry-based solutions are the right approach.”

► Challenges exist in reducing the security risks faced by licensees using high-risk industrial radiological sources, making them susceptible to theft or loss, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a new report. According to its findings, industrial facilities in the oil and gas, aerospace, and food sterilization sectors face increasing security risks not only from the threat of loss of radiological sources, but also from insider threats. “GAO found two cases where employees were granted unescorted access [to radiological sources] despite having serious criminal records,” according to the report. “In one of the cases, the individual had been twice convicted of terroristic threats.” In response to the report, federal agencies responsible for securing radiological sources are taking steps to better secure their industrial sources. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been developing a best practices guide and the National Nuclear Security Administration has implemented two initiatives to improve security. However, the report also suggests that there is not always effective collaboration between the agencies responsible for securing radiological sources and the Department of Homeland Security.

► A Missouri-based company has recalled approximately 4,000 pounds of beef products that could be contaminated with a mad cow disease pathogen, Tech Times reports. In a statement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said that Fruitland American Meat recalled two cryovac-packaged bone-in Rain Cow Ranch Ribeye with the establishment number EST. 2316 and were produced between September 5, 2013, and April 15, 2014. The products were distributed to a Connecticut Whole Foods distribution center to be sold in New England stores and a New York restaurants. Fruitland also recalled beef carcasses with the number EST. 2316, packaged from September 2013 to April 2014, and distributed to a restaurant in Kansas City and another Missouri establishment. “The beef recall was initiated after the FSIS discovered during a review of slaughter logs that Fruitland American Meat may not have removed the dorsal root ganglia tissue from cattle that were at least 30 months old, which is not compliant with federal regulations,” Tech Times reports.

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