Morning Security Brief: Security in Philippines, Tough Identity Laws in Russia, U.S. Government Hacked, and More

By Teresa Anderson

The Wall Street Journal reports that fears about looting and widespread lawlessness in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the island 10 days ago, are unfounded. Major aid organizations say that rumors of murder, ambush, rape, and looting are “absolute trash.” Bernd Schell, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, says that rumors and fears about security are “normal” after a disaster. The real problem is logistics; relief agencies have been thwarted by the scale of the catastrophe. Reuters reports that the United Nations has expressed concern that some islands have yet to receive aid. Orla Fagan, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that getting any relief supplies to the island has become a “logistical nightmare.”

► An identity check law has been added to the tough security measures Russia is enacting in advance of the upcoming Winter Olympics. The Associated Press reports that purchasing online tickets requires “passport details and contacts that will allow the authorities to screen all visitors and check their identities upon arrival.” All visitors will also be required to wear identification passes while at Olympic events. The Russian government claims that the measures are designed to thwart terrorism, but critics note that the law will do little to prevent local extremists from acting out.

► According to The Guardian, an FBI memo discloses a hacking campaign by Anonymous that began in December 2012. The hackers exploited an Adobe flaw to launch attacks against government sites, such as the U.S. Army, The Department of Energy, and the Department of Health and Human Services. According to an internal Energy Department memo, hackers accessed information on at least 104,000 employees, along with data on 2,000 bank accounts. Adobe spokeswoman Heather Edell said she was not familiar with the FBI memo and noted that most attacks involving Adobe “have exploited programs that were not updated with the latest security patches.”

► In other news, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is seeking an extension of the law that bans the use of 3-D printers to construct firearms. The existing law expires December 9. ⇒ Also, the United States has expressed concern over a plan announced this weekend to move most of Syria’s chemical weapons via truck. Pentagon officials say the plan leaves the weapons vulnerable to attack.


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