Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Monday, June 22, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for June 22, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is notifying the owners of 26 nuclear plants that they are not saving enough money to dismantle the reactors once they are no longer operating. (See item 9)

9. June 18, Associated Press – (National) NRC to send shortfall letters to 26 atomic plants. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will notify the owners of 26 nuclear plants June 19 that they are not saving enough money to dismantle the reactors once they are no longer operating. In a memo obtained by the Associated Press on June 18, the agency told congressional offices it would make a formal announcement of its findings on June 19. It said it would work with the plants on a case-by-case basis to develop remedial savings plans. The plants deemed coming up short range from the Vermont Yankee station near Brattleboro to the three Browns Ferry reactors near Decatur, Alabama. NRC officials also said another 19 plants would have to be mothballed for up to 60 years after they shut down, partly in hopes that their decommissioning funds would see enough investment growth to pay for dismantling the reactors and removing radioactive components. Such long periods of idleness have raised concerns that plant systems could decay over time, raising the chances of an accident that might release radioactivity to the environment. Various reports by government agencies and independent groups also have raised alarm that the plants could be tempting targets for terrorists bent on creating radioactive “dirty bombs.” Source:

 The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the discovery of an envelope bearing a suspicious white powder prompted public safety officials to seal off the F. Edward Hebert Federal Building in New Orleans for more than four hours on June 18. (See item 21)

21. June 18, New Orleans Times-Picayune – (Louisiana) New Orleans Federal Building locked down after white powder found in mailroom. The discovery of an envelope bearing a suspicious white powder prompted public safety officials to seal off the F. Edward Hebert federal building in the Central Business District of New Orleans for more than four hours Thursday. Though preliminary tests determined that the powder was not hazardous, the material was sent to an FBI laboratory, officials said. Firefighters and other first responders rushed the scene and officials put the building on lockdown, meaning no one could enter or exit. Nine federal employees and two New Orleans police officers were isolated and tested because they had been exposed to the powder, said a spokesman for the New Orleans Fire Department. No one was injured. After about four hours, authorities re-opened the building. Along with police and fire personnel, several other agencies, including the Louisiana State Police, FBI, U.S. Marshals and Regional Transit Authority, responded to the scene. The mailroom was cleaned and eventually cleared of any possible toxins. The lab test is pending. Details about the powder and the envelope were not available. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

14. June 19, Reuters – (International) Stanford indicted in massive U.S. fraud case. A Texas billionaire, three associates, and a top Caribbean regulator were indicted on fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction charges in an elaborate $7 billion pyramid scheme to bilk investors, U.S. Justice Department officials said on June 19. The financier was set to appear on June 19 in federal court in Virginia to answer Texas grand jury charges he orchestrated the fraud through his bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua. The financier, an executive, two accountants, and Antigua’s top regulator were hit with 21 charges alleging they concocted a broad ruse to deceive investors, fabricate financial statements, and hide their fraud. “This scheme was carefully orchestrated to make sure the true information never saw the light of day,” said the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement unit. Source:

Information Technology

36. June 19, Spamfighter – (International) Apple accepts Mac’s vulnerability to malware. Security company ‘SecureMac’ reports that Apple has eventually admitted that viruses and spyware pose a threat to Mac OS X and to its most recent operating system ‘Snow Leopard.’ According to Apple, Snow Leopard is being designed to add new mechanism that would facilitate in protecting against attacks like phishing and sandboxing in Safari. However, this technology is not a complete anti-malware solution. Apple claimed on its official website that Mac had built-in technologies, which helped to protect from malicious software as well as other security threats. Since computer systems were not cent percent immune from attacks, antivirus software might be deployed for additional protection, Apple suggested. Responding to Apple’s statement, SecureMac said that they appreciated Apple for acknowledging the fact that Mac was not immune to malware attacks. This statement contradicted Apple’s TV advertisements that criticized their counterparts by claiming that Macs were totally safe. Nevertheless, it was vital that one should realize that the new mechanisms built into the operating software would not safeguard from all attacks, SecureMac added. Source:

37. June 18, CNET News – (International) Microsoft’s free antimalware beta on the way. Microsoft will launch a public beta of its anti-malware service, Microsoft Security Essentials, on June 23 as it phases out its Live OneCare suite in favor of a simpler free consumer security offering. Microsoft Security Essentials, which will run on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, will be available in the U.S., Brazil, and Israel in English and Brazilian Portuguese. A public beta version for Simplified Chinese will be available later in the year. The service works like traditional antivirus products in which client software monitors programs on a PC. When something changes on the computer, such as files being downloaded or copied or software trying to modify files, the system checks against a set of malware signatures in the client program to see if the code matches the signature for known malware. If so, it blocks it from getting downloaded. If no signature match is found, the system will ping the server-based Dynamic Signature Service to see if any new signatures are available and, if so, it removes the malware. If it appears to be new malware, the Dynamic Signature Service may request a sample of the code in order to create a new signature. The service updates its anti-malware database constantly and publishes new antivirus signatures to Microsoft Update three times a day, the general manager of Microsoft’s Anti-Malware team said in an interview on June 18. Source:

38. June 17, SC Magazine – (International) “Nine-Ball” mass injection attack compromised 40,000 sites. A new threat dubbed “Nine-Ball” has compromised up to 40,000 legitimate Web sites, which are, in turn, infecting users with an information-stealing trojan, according to security vendor Websense. The attack is called “Nine-Ball” because of the name of the final, malicious landing page, which is loaded with drive-by exploits, that unsuspecting users automatically are redirected to if they visit one of the compromised sites., the exploit site, contains malicious code that looks for already patched vulnerabilities in Acrobat Reader, QuickTime, Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) and AOL SuperBuddy, which it then attempts to exploit, the manager of security research at Websense, told on June 17. The flaws have all been patched; some date back to 2006, the manager said. But, the Reader and QuickTime vulnerabilities are newer, making it less likely that users are patched for them. If the malicious code finds an unpatched vulnerability to exploit, it either drops a malicious PDF file or a trojan designed to steal user information, the manager said. All of the exploits currently have low detection rates, he added. The 40,000 legit but compromised Web sites were “sleeping” up until June 15, the manager said. Before then, if a user visited one of them, they were redirected to On June 15, though, the attack updated and users started being redirected to the ninetoraq malicious site. Source:

Communications Sector

4. June 18, – (National) Closer to the Sun: Satellite solar is out of this world. Another type of space race is to be the first company to get solar satellites into orbit. U.S. companies are aggressively researching the technology, reports Yale 360. One firm called PowerSat in Washington State has filed for patents to link as many 300 shiny satellites together in space, beam the energy to one big satellite, then transmit the power back to Earth. The star trek also includes using solar-powered thrusters to launch satellites into orbit 22,000 miles above Earth. California utility PG&E also has signed a deal with Solaren for 200 megawatts of space-based solar power in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Source: See also:

18. June 19, Associated Press – (Illinois) Storms sock city, slug airports. Chicago airports experienced storm-related delays, thousands of residents of northern and central Illinois lost power, and flash flooding closed roads and backed up traffic following heavy rains that beat down on the city. Chicago Police said flooding closed a northbound ramp on Lake Shore Drive. Flight delays at O’Hare International Airport averaged one hour and more than 50 flights were canceled. Midway was seeing shorter delays and no cancellations. The storm also kicked WBBM-AM off the air. Just after noon, the radio station’s broadcast tower was hit by lightning, a spokeswoman told the Chicago Sun-Times for a story on its Web site. WBBM was back on the air around 12:40 p.m., the paper reported. ComEd reported 5,800 customers without electricity, mostly in the Rockford area. About 7,300 Ameren customers were without power, mostly in Knox, Peoria, and Warren counties. According to Ameren, the storm left about 43,500 customers in the dark early Thursday morning. Source: See also:

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