Thurssday, September 25, 2008
Complete DHS Daily Report for September 25, 2008
According to KHOU 11 Houston, at least one person was seriously injured when a petrochemical storage facility caught fire Tuesday night at Kinder Morgan’s terminal in Pasadena, Texas. (See item 1)
1. September 24, KHOU 11 Houston – (Texas) Petrochemical storage facility blaze injures 2. At least one person was seriously injured when a petrochemical storage facility caught fire Tuesday night in Pasadena, Texas. Investigators say the blaze started inside the Kinder Morgan terminal. The fire burned for 7 and a half hours, but seemed to be out by early Wednesday morning. The flames could be seen from miles away. Police say a manifold was burning, which is like a small engine that directs petroleum traffic causing pipelines of petroleum to go in and out. The pipelines are thousands of miles long so Kinder Morgan shut the valves to stop the flames from traveling through the pipelines. There were 23 employees working at the time. Two of them were injured. There is no word on the cause of the fire but multiple agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, are investigating. One of the possible causes they are looking into is Hurricane Ike. Source:
CNN reports that the fallout from a tainted milk scandal in China continues to spread around the globe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it plans to expand testing for Chinese products that may contain high levels of milk or milk proteins. (See item 20)
20. September 24, CNN – (International) Tainted milk scandal spreads beyond China. The fallout from a tainted milk scandal in China continues to spread around the globe, with two more illnesses reported in Hong Kong and a supermarket chain in Britain pulling Chinese products from its shelves. The United States, meanwhile, said inspectors would expand testing for Chinese products that may contain high levels of milk or milk proteins. Nearly 53,000 children in China have been sickened by infant formula or other products contaminated with the chemical melamine. Four babies have died. About a dozen countries, from Asia to Africa, have banned or recalled Chinese milk products. Authorities in China have arrested 18 people in a nationwide investigation. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday that it plans to expand testing for Chinese products that may contain high levels of milk or milk proteins. The agency said its investigators have not found the Chinese infant formula in question during visits to more than 1,000 stores, mainly in cities with large Chinese communities. The FDA plans to continue such checks, it said, and “has broadened its domestic and import sampling and testing of milk-derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk, such as candies, desserts, and beverages that could contain these ingredients from Chinese sources.” Source: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/09/24/china.milk/index.html
Banking and Finance Sector
11. September 24, BBC – (National) Key finance firms ‘probed by FBI.’ Investigators are reportedly examining possible fraud by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed bank Lehman Brothers, and insurer AIG. Top managers at those firms are also being investigated, the reports say. It was prompted by concerns over the way high-risk, “sub-prime” mortgages were being sold. The FBI has been looking at lenders who sold home loans to buyers on low or unpredictable incomes and also the investment banks that packaged these loans and sold them on. The slump in the U.S. housing market has resulted in billions of dollars of losses for these banks and turmoil in world credit markets. Last week the FBI director said more than 20 large financial firms were already under investigation. Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and AIG are all being bailed out by the U.S. government. And the government recently announced a $700 billion bail-out plan that would enable banks to offload their bad debt. Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7632790.stm
12. September 23, New York Times – (National) Buffet deal at Goldman seen as a sign of confidence. The country’s most famous investor and one of the world’s richest men announced on Tuesday that he would invest $5 billion in Goldman Sachs, the embattled Wall Street titan, in a move that could bolster confidence in the financial markets. Thousands of people on and off Wall Street follow his moves, so the decision to invest in Goldman immediately heartened investors. After falling nearly 1.6 percent during the day, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index erased half its loss in after-hours trading Tuesday evening on news of the investment. Goldman’s move came a day after a rival investment bank, Morgan Stanley, raised about $8 billion by selling up to a 20 percent stake to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest commercial bank. Source:
13. September 23, My Central Jersey – (New Jersey) Rahway woman admits role in $75M real-estate investment scam. A paralegal who worked on deals for a bogus Woodbridge real estate investment company admitted in federal court yesterday to falsifying loan documents in connection with a scheme that bilked mortgage lenders and investors out of at least $75 million. The woman, who served as a paralegal for a law firm in Cranford, pleaded guilty to making false statements on a form from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a federally-insured mortgage. Additionally, the paralegal admitted to falsely claiming that clients for the attorney she worked for had paid money to buy the properties in question when they had not, authorities said. The scheme involved NJ Affordable Homes and its founder, who is now in federal custody. The company sold notes to more than 490 investors in the United States, making empty promises of 15 to 20 percent returns, authorities said. NJ Affordable Homes told investors they would use their money to purchase, renovate, and resell real estate. They paid off old investors with money from new investors and generated fictitious revenue by selling properties to insiders, investors, and others, authorities said. The assistant U.S. Attorney who is handling the case said advisory sentencing guidelines call for 12 to 18 months in prison. The paralegal is the eighth defendant in the case to plead guilty in the scheme. Source:
34. September 24, ZDNet Asia – (National) Infected software fakes on the rise. Spam email that contains links to malware bearing viruses and Trojans are on the increase, particularly those disguised as legitimate software, security vendors warn. One common ruse involves the circulation of fake copies of popular software, which infects users’ systems upon installation. In a statement Wednesday, Symantec pointed to the example of a “very high profile attack” involving fake versions of Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer 7. Adobe also recently issued a warning that fake copies of its Flash plugin had been circulated via fake news video pages that prompt users to download the malware. Ironically, another IT security company Sophos, noted that Symantec itself fell victim to such hoaxes.
36. September 23, CNet News – (International) Infected U.S. PCs may have attacked Georgia. When political tensions flared last month between Georgia and Russia, the country was ready to block Internet traffic from Russia, hoping to avoid the denial-ofservice attacks that shut down Internet service in Estonia for several days in 2007. Instead, most of the DoS attacks that were directed against Georgia came from the United States. “Russia is one of the most capable countries when it comes to launching system intrusion hacking attempts, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and operation of botnets,” said the director of Threat Intelligence for SecureWorks. “Yet you’ll notice the number of attacks coming from Russia are very low.” SecureWorks on Monday released a list ranking the countries with the most infected computers enlisted for use with botnets. On that list, Russia ranks 7th, far behind the United States, China, Brazil, South Korea, Poland, and Japan. The reason Russia is so low is that hackers from Russia
don’t attack from within Russia. Instead of attacking using Russian IP addresses, SecureWorks said, the hackers who wanted to attack Georgia used “computers and control servers located in Turkey while the bots (the infected computers) that they controlled were mostly in the United States.” Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10049008-83.html
37. September 24, Associated Press – (California) Satellite launched into orbit from Pacific. A new communications satellite for Intelsat was launched into orbit Wednesday from an oceangoing rocket platform floating in the equatorial Pacific, Sea Launch Co. said. A Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the Galaxy 19 satellite blasted off at 2:28 a.m. PDT and spacecraft separation occurred just over an hour later after reaching orbit, the company said in a Webcast of the launch. The satellite is intended to serve Intelsat customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Sea Launch is a partnership of Chicago-based Boeing Co., RSC-Energia of Russia, Aker ASA of Norway, and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Ukraine.
38. September 24, Newsday – (New York) Verizon’s FiOS installs miss self-imposed success rate. Verizon’s FiOS installations across New York State - while improved - still miss a self-imposed success rate of 95 percent, according to a company audit released yesterday. In a letter to the State Public Service Commission, Verizon said its FiOS installations for August were 83 percent compliant on electric code issues statewide. Three of the 16 regions in the report had compliance rates of 95 percent or higher. Those regions were Manhattan (98 percent), south Suffolk (95 percent) and western New York (99 percent). The three remaining Long Island regions are north Suffolk (90 percent), north Nassau (89 percent), and south Nassau (93 percent). Also in the letter, the company said it inspected 15 percent of installations made before August and found 59 percent failed. Verizon, responding to concerns raised by previous PSC audits, proposed to review all of its fiber-optic installations to ensure connections are properly grounded, to correct any violations and possibly issue customer credits.
39. September 23, InformationWeek – (National) Qualcomm to produce satellite-cellular chips. Qualcomm said it has signed a deal to build multimode mobile chipsets that marry satellite and cellular communication technologies. The company said the agreement with SkyTerra Communications and ICO Global Communications could enable ubiquitous mobile communication coverage anywhere in North America. The companies said the chips are expected to be available in 2010. Satellite phones have been critical in emergency situations like Hurricane Gustav and Ike, but costs and network handoff limitations have severely limited the availability of affordable handsets that can move between satellite and cellular networks. Under the agreement, Qualcomm will develop a satellite protocol for these chipsets and combine it with the company’s expertise with CDMA technology. The company’s size and scale should enable a wider market to have access to satellite connectivity, and it should drive down costs for
hardware manufacturers. Source: