Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 7, 2008

Daily Report


Reuters reports that the U.S. Air Force on Friday said it would immediately inspect and repair about 130 A-10 attack aircraft due to fatigue-related cracks in their wings, saying the move illustrated the advancing age of its fleet. (See item 11)

11. October 3, Reuters – (National) U.S. Air Force to inspect, repair aged A-10 aircraft. The U.S. Air Force on Friday said it would immediately inspect and repair about 130 A-10 attack aircraft due to fatigue-related cracks in their wings, saying the move illustrated the advancing age of its fleet. The aircraft in question were built with “thin-skin” wings in the 1970s by the now-defunct Fairchild Industries, and comprise just under a third of the Air Force’s 400 remaining A-10s or Warthogs. Later models were built with thicker skins. “The inspections are a necessary step in addressing the risk associated with A-10 wing cracking - specifically with thin-skin wings,” the Air Force said in a statement. An Air Force spokesman said the action did not constitute a fleetwide grounding of the single-seat, twin-engine A-10s, and would have no impact on any combat operations. The Air Force said wing cracks had appeared in A-10s assigned to the Air Force’s Air Combat Command in the Pacific, the Air National Guard, the reserves, and Air Force Materiel Command. The service said its first priority would be those A-10 aircraft based in U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those aircraft have been used extensively to provide close air support for U.S. troops on the ground, and to drop precision-guided weapons from high above. Source:

 According to the Associated Press, at least a half million gallons of crude oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous, and bays of Louisiana and Texas due to Hurricane Ike. At least 448 releases of oil, gasoline, and dozens of other substances into the water and onto the ground in Louisiana and Texas were reported. (See item 20)

20. October 5, Associated Press – (National) Environmental damage widespread after Ike. At least a half million gallons of crude oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous, and bays of Louisiana and Texas, according to an analysis of federal data by the Associated Press. In the days before and after Hurricane Ike, companies and residents reported at least 448 releases of oil, gasoline, and dozens of other substances into the air and water and onto the ground in Louisiana and Texas. The hardest hit places were industrial centers near Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, as well as oil production facilities off Louisiana’s coast. The Coast Guard, with the Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies, has responded to more than 3,000 pollution reports associated with the storm and its surge along the upper Texas coast. Most callers complain about abandoned propane tanks, paint cans, and other hazardous materials containers turning up in marshes, backyards, and other places. No major oil spills or hazardous materials releases have been identified, but nearly 1,500 sites still need to be cleaned up. Power outages also caused sewage pipes to stop flowing. Elsewhere, the storm’s surge dredged up smelly and oxygen-deprived marsh mud, which killed fish and caused residents to complain of nausea and headaches from the odor. State and federal officials have collected thousands of abandoned drums, paint cans, and other containers. The Associated Press’ analysis found that, by far, the most common contaminant left in Ike’s wake was crude oil. In the week of reports analyzed, enough crude oil was spilled nearly to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and more could be released, officials said, as platforms and pipelines were turned back on. Air contaminants were the second-most common release, mostly from the chemical plants and refineries along the coast. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

12. October 6, Reuters – (National) BofA in $8.6 billion settlement over Countrywide loans. Bank of America will settle claims brought by U.S. state attorneys-general regarding certain risky loans originated by Countrywide Financial Corp, it said on Monday, in a deal that could be worth more than $8.6 billion. The deal, covering nearly 400,000 borrowers, applies to people who financed their homes with subprime loans or pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages serviced by Countrywide that originated before Dec 31, 2007. The options of the program include trying to refinance borrowers into government-backed loans under the federal Hope for Homeowners program and lowering interest rates. Under the program, for eligible Countrywide-serviced customers who occupy the home as their primary residence, borrowers will not be charged loan modification fees and prepayment penalties for subprime and pay option ARM loans will be waived, the bank said. Source:

13. October 6, CNN Money – (National) Fed pumps billions more into banks. The Federal Reserve announced Monday it will double to $300 billion the amount of money it will make available to the nation’s banks in return for a wide range of damaged collateral. The amount available to banks is set to rise to $600 billion. In addition, the Federal Reserve signaled it could increase the amount available through those loans to $900 billion by the end of the year. Source:

14. October 6, Washington Post – (National) Data breaches expose about 30M records in 2008. U.S. corporations, governments, and universities reported a record 516 consumer data breaches in the first nine months of this year, incidents prompted chiefly by hackers and employee theft. About 80 percent of the breaches involved digital records, while the remainder stemmed from the loss, theft or exposure of paper-based records. Some 30 million records on consumers have been exposed so far this year but there is currently no federal requirement for organizations that experience a data breach or loss to acknowledge precisely how many consumers nationwide may have been affected. More than 36 percent of the breaches so far this year have been at U.S. businesses, while educational institutions were the second most frequent source of incidents (21 percent). Source:

15. October 6, Computerworld – (California) Schwarzanegger again nixes data breach bill. For the second time in 12 months, the governor of California last week vetoed legislation that would have required retailers and other businesses operating in the state to take a series of steps to protect credit and debit card data. The Consumer Data Protection Act, or AB 1656, would also have required retailers to disclose more details about data breaches to the people affected by them. The California State Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure last month. Financial institutions contend that retailers should do more to protect cardholder data and should cover card replacement costs if their systems are breached. The Governor explained that he vetoed the bill because it attempted “to legislate in an area where the marketplace has already assigned responsibilities and liabilities that provide for the protection of consumers.” Source:

16. October 6, Haaretz – (International) Israeli hacker said behind global ring that stole millions. The United States will ask Canada to extradite an Israeli computer hacker known as the “Analyzer” so that he can be indicted as one of the masterminds of a worldwide ring of hackers that allegedly stole millions of dollars. Prosecutors say that the ring hacked into financial institutions in Russia, Turkey, Holland, Sweden, Germany and other countries. Ten years ago, he became famous for having hacked into the Pentagon’s computers. Then, last month, he was arrested in Canada on suspicion of being involved in a high-tech theft from a local bank. Three weeks later, a court decided to release him on $30,000 bail, but last week, before he had actually left prison, that decision was superseded by a new arrest order issued in connection with the U.S. extradition request. Source:

Information Technology

29. October 6, Computerworld – (National) Computer failure hobbles NASA’s Hubble Telescope. A computer failure onboard the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope has forced NASA to postpone this month’s space shuttle Atlantis mission, which was set to do scheduled repairs on the observatory. The shuttle program manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said the flight will likely be rescheduled for next February or April, giving NASA time to prepare a replacement computer for delivery. NASA scientists announced last week that a data formatter and control unit had “totally failed” on September 27. The Science Data Formatter is designed to take information from five onboard instruments, format it into packets, put a header on it, and send it to Earth at speeds of up to 1 Mbit/sec. A program executive for the Hubble Space Telescope said that the problematic computer has been online since the telescope was put into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. The computer was designed by IBM in the 1970s and built by the former Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp. in the 1980s. Source:

Communications Sector

Nothing to report