Parliament Rushing to Ensure National Security

Iceland’s parliament has only a few days to approve legal amendments that are intended to ensure national security in relation to the sale of telecommunications company Míla, RÚV reports. The company, which owns and operates nationwide telecommunications systems, was recently sold to French fund management company Ardian. Various parties in Iceland have expressed concern regarding the sale of such important infrastructure to a foreign company. The Icelandic government has imposed certain conditions on the sale.

Read More: Purchase of Míla is a Long-Term Investment

All of Iceland’s homes, businesses, and institutions are serviced by Míla’s nationwide telecommunications infrastructure, which includes copper wire, fibreoptic, and microwave systems. The company is therefore the basis of all telecommunications and electronic communications systems throughout the country. Former Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson met with Ardian representatives last summer, and later stated he was optimistic that an agreement could be reached on their acquisition of Míla that would ensure national interests were protected. He mentioned conditions for the sale, including mandating that certain equipment used by Míla would remain in Iceland, that other equipment would be from countries that are Iceland’s defence allies, and that Icelandic authorities would be kept informed of the true owners of Míla at all times.

Áslaug Arna introduced the amendment bill concerning Míla in Iceland’s Parliament yesterday, saying it would strengthen and secure the legal basis for telecommunications with regard to national security. Opposition MPs criticised the government for introducing the bill so late, with Reform Party Chairperson Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir saying the working process of the bill has been characterised by carelessness. More comprehensive changes to the legislation are expected next year.

Discussing the sale of Míla, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir called telecommunications infrastructure a “key issue for public security in every society.”

Log4j Vulnerability in Iceland: Uncertainty Phase Declared

keyboard computer typing

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management has declared an uncertainty phase due to the Log4j vulnerability affecting computer networks worldwide. Since last week, Icelandic authorities have been working to minimise the damage the vulnerability could potentially cause. The Log4j vulnerability primary affects businesses by putting their computer systems at risk of hacking.

“The severity of the vulnerability lies first and foremost in how widespread the Log4j code library is and the depth and richness of the access it can provide to internal systems,” according to a notice from the Civil Protection Department. The notice points out that the vulnerability is not unique to Iceland but a global problem. “The public does not have to be particularly afraid of it regarding their home computers or mobile phones. However, it is always a good rule of thumb to update your virus protection and other software as soon as updates are announced.”

Businesses encouraged to review all systems

Network and computer system operators in Iceland are encouraged to review all systems where the vulnerability could be present and updated them as soon as updates are available. Authorities also underline the importance of monitoring systems following an update in order to assess whether there are indications that the vulnerability was used to install malware while the systems were weak.

The National Police Commissioner declared the uncertainty phase after consultation with computer emergency response team CERT-IS and the Electronic Communications Office of Iceland (ECOI). The Civil Protection Department and CERT-IS have activated their response plan for the protection of essential information infrastructure due to the vulnerability.