Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Complete DHS Daily Report for June 19, 2012

Daily Report

Top Stories

• Federal regulators determined design flaws appear to be the cause of excessive wear in tubing that carries radioactive water, a problem that has kept the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego County idled since January. – Associated Press

5. June 18, Associated Press – (California) Feds: Design flaws at Calif. nuke plant behind leak. After months of investigation, federal regulators determined design flaws appear to be the cause of excessive wear in tubing that carries radioactive water through the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego County, California, the Associated Press reported June 18. The twin-reactor plant has been idle since January, after a tube break in one of four steam generators released traces of radiation. A team of federal investigators was dispatched in March after the discovery that some tubes were so badly corroded they could fail. Flaws in fabrication or installation were considered as possible sources of the rapid decay but “it looks primarily we are pointed toward the design” of the heavily modified generators, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission regional administrator told the Associated Press in an interview. “It’s these four steam generators that either have, or are susceptible to, this type of problem,” he said, referring to the unusual damage caused when alloy tubes vibrate and rattle against each other or brackets that hold them in place. Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57455078/feds-design-flaws-at-calif-nuke-plant-behind-leak/

• Michigan’s unusually warm March followed by overnight freezes in April devastated many of the State’s largest fruit farms. The climate caused what some federal officials called the worst weather damage to fruit in the State in the past 50 years. – Detroit Free Press

17. June 17, Detroit Free Press – (Michigan) Volatile climate tough on Michigan’s fruit crops. Michigan’s unusually warm March followed by overnight freezes in April devastated many of the State’s largest fruit farms, the Detroit Free Press reported June 17. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Michigan field office described the impact as the “worst weather damage to fruit in the state in the past half-century.” The State, which produced 70.9 percent of the nation’s tart cherries in 2010, is expected to harvest a mere 2 million pounds of tarts in 2012, down from 135 million pounds in 2010 and 266 million pounds in 2009, according to the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association. Other crops damaged by this spring’s volatile climate include apples, peaches, juice grapes — and even maple syrup. “It’s going to be pretty tough financially on these producers, and it’s going to be pretty difficult on the handlers,” said a Michigan Farm Bureau commodities specialist. It is also going to drive prices up — especially for cherries. One buyer said he expects wholesale prices to quadruple. Sales of fruit crops totaled $325.2 million in 2010, according to a report by the USDA and Michigan State University. Source: http://www.freep.com/article/20120617/BUSINESS06/206170479/Volatile-climate-tough-on-Michigan-s-fruit-crops

• Police shot and killed a gunman to end a standoff at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, after he took several hospital staffers hostage in the emergency room common area June 17. – Associated Press

26. June 18, Associated Press – (Texas) Police kill gunman in standoff at Temple hospital. Police shot and killed a gunman to end a standoff at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, after he took several hospital staffers hostage in the emergency room common area June 17. Authorities were trying to determine what sparked the standoff. Police started negotiations when a hostage tried to grab the suspect’s gun. A Temple officer fatally shot the man to end the struggle. Source: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Police-kill-gunman-in-standoff-at-Temple-hospital-3641742.php

• More residents evacuated June 18 as fire crews faced powerful winds fueling wildfires that have burned hundreds of square miles. The fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and other structures in at least six States. – Associated Press

44. June 18, Associated Press – (National) More evacuations as winds fuel Colorado wildfire. More residents evacuated June 18 as fire crews face another day of powerful winds fueling a wildfire that has charred more than 87 square miles of forested mountains in northern Colorado. Fire officials said crews were able to maintain most existing fire lines, with the fire chewing through about 1,000 more acres June 17. About 1,750 personnel were working on the fire, which was sparked by lightning and was 45 percent contained. The fire destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in State history. Also June 17, a fire erupted in the foothills west of Colorado Springs, prompting the evacuation of an unknown number of homes as well as some cabins, a Boy Scout camp, and a recreation area near the Elevenmile Canyon Reservoir, which provides water to the Denver area. The fire has spread to 450 acres and fire managers said it has the potential to grow much more in the dry, windy conditions. In southwest Colorado, a fire near Pagosa Springs grew to 11,617 acres and was 30 percent contained. It was sparked by lightning May 13. June 17, deputies arrested a Denver man on charges including theft and impersonating a firefighter. In California, a wildfire that forced the evacuation of 150 homes in San Diego County surged to 800 acres June 18 and was 5 percent contained. In Nevada, crews fought a 22,000-acre fire north of Ely, that burned a mobile home. In New Mexico, a wildfire destroyed 242 homes and businesses, and firefighters were working to increase containment and keeping an eye out for possible lightning. The roughly 60-square-mile Little Bear Fire in Ruidoso was 60 percent contained. In Arizona, firefighters were focusing on protecting electrical transmission lines near a 3,100-acre fire on the Tonto National Forest. The fire was 15 percent contained. Source: http://www.officialwire.com/news/more-evacuations-as-winds-fuel-colorado-wildfire/


Banking and Finance Sector

9. June 18, SecurityWeek – (International) Automatic transfer system evades security measures, automates bank fraud. Trend Micro June 18 released a new report that identifies an Automatic Transfer System (ATS) that enables cybercriminals to circumvent many bank security measures and drain victims’ bank accounts without leaving visible signs of malicious activity. In the new whitepaper, “Automatic Transfer System, a New Cybercrime Tool”, Trend Micro examines the automatic transfer systems within two well-known crime kits, Zeus and SpyEye. Automatic transfer systems are added to the various crime kits as part of the Webinject files. They arm criminals with the ability to move funds from a victim’s account without them being aware. In short, while the victim is performing one type of action, the ATS is transferring money. “Various active ATSs currently found in the wild are being used by cybercriminals to conduct automated online financial fraud,” the whitepaper explains. “These versions use a common framework. Their base code does not change from one version to another. New functionality has been introduced in more recent versions, however, in order to address new security measures”. Source: http://www.securityweek.com/automatic-transfer-system-evades-security-measures-automates-bank-fraud

10. June 15, U.S. Department of Justice – (National; International) Three tax return preparers charged with helping clients evade taxes by hiding millions in secret accounts at two Israeli banks. Three men were indicted by a federal grand jury in California and charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said June 15. The men were principals and employees of United Revenue Service Inc. (URS), a tax preparation business with 12 offices throughout the United States. The indictment alleges the co-conspirators prepared false individual income tax returns that did not disclose the clients’ foreign financial accounts nor report the income earned from those accounts. To conceal the clients’ ownership and control of assets and conceal their income from the IRS, the co-conspirators incorporated offshore companies in Belize and elsewhere and helped clients open secret bank accounts at the Luxembourg locations of two Israeli banks. Additionally, the co-conspirators incorporated offshore companies in Belize and elsewhere to act as named account holders on the secret accounts at the Israeli banks. They then facilitated the transfer of client funds to the secret accounts and prepared and filed tax returns that falsely reported the money sent offshore as a false investment loss or a false business expense. Source: http://www.justice.gov/tax/2012/txdv12762.htm

11. June 15, Associated Press – (Florida; Georgia; Tennessee) Regulators close 3 banks in 3 States, bringing to 31 the number of US bank failures this year. Federal regulators seized three banks, one each in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, bringing the number to 31 of U.S. banks that have failed so far in 2012, the Associated Press reported June 15. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said it closed Putnam State Bank in Palatka, Florida, Security Exchange Bank, in Marietta, Georgia, and The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The FDIC lined up other lenders to assume the deposits and assets of each of the banks. Regulators estimated that the failure of the three banks will cost the insurance fund $100 million. Source: http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/de57344dd44b4150a3e1aa163df6048a/US--Bank-Closures

12. June 15, KXAS 5 Dallas-Fort Worth – (Texas) Skimming devices stumped Secret Service agent. A Secret Service agent who is an expert on gas pump skimmers said June 15 in court that he had never seen anything like the devices in a Tarrant County, Texas case. A man who is accused of stealing thousands of credit and debit card account numbers across north Texas is on trial in Tarrant County on felony identity charges. A Secret Service agent called the devices the man is accused of installing unique and sophisticated. He said it took him several weeks to figure out how to extract information from them. The devices came from gas pumps. A couple of the skimmers came from the man’s hotel room and his truck. Source: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Skimming-Devices-Stumped-Secret-Service-Agent-159259115.html

Information Technology Sector

31. June 18, H Security – (International) Encoding malicious PDFs avoids detection. A security researcher discovered attackers can thwart detection by most common anti-virus software if they encode malicious PDF files in the XDP format. XDP is an XML-based file format that includes the PDF as a Base64-encoded data stream. XDP files are opened by Adobe Reader just like a normal PDF would be and can therefore infect systems in the same way. The researcher’s test document, which uses a 2-year-old security vulnerability in Adobe Reader, was only detected by one anti-virus package in his tests. After experimenting with the XDP format, he was able to create another file that fooled all 42 anti-virus engines used on VirusTotal. The exploit the researcher used has long since been patched. To make sure their networks are not attacked, users should avoid XDP files in general until Adobe patches its software or the anti-virus companies fix their detection methods, experts said. Source: http://www.h-online.com/security/news/item/Encoding-malicious-PDFs-avoids-detection-1620310.html

32. June 18, ZDNet – (International) Attack code published for ‘critical’ IE flaw; Patch your browser now. The week of June 11, when Microsoft released a critical Internet Explorer update, the company issued a warning that working exploit code could be released within 30 days. Less than a week later, an exploit for one of the “critical” browser flaws was fitted into the freely available Metasploit point-and-click attack tool, and samples were released to Contagio, a blog that tracks live malware attacks. The addition of the exploit into Metasploit indicates cyber-criminals now have access to copy the attack code for use in exploit kit and other mass malware attacks. Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/attack-code-published-for-critical-ie-flaw-patch-your-browser-now/12493

33. June 15, The Register – (International) ICANN eggfaced after publishing dot-word biz overlords’ personal info. After revealing the details of almost 2,000 new generic top-level domain (gTLD) applications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) took all the applications offline June 15 after applicants complained their home addresses were published by mistake. ICANN published the partial text of 1,930 gTLD bids during an event in London June 13. Only 30 of the 50 questions in each application were supposed to be revealed; details about financial performance, technical security, and personal contact information were supposed to be redacted. Also, ICANN accidentally published the full contact information of each bid’s primary and secondary contact — including in many cases their home addresses. These named individuals were in several confirmed cases as well as the senior officers and directors of the company applying. The Applicant Guidebook, the authoritative publication for the ICANN new gTLD process, specifically stated home addresses would not be published. Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/15/icann_big_reveal_reveals_too_much/

For more stories, see items 9 and 12 above in the Banking and Finance Sector and 34 below in the Communications Sector

Communications Sector

34. June 18, ZDNet – (International) Amazon explains latest cloud outage: Blame the power. June 14, cloud provider Amazon suffered an outage to its Amazon Web Services in a north Virginia datacenter. Many popular Web sites, including Quora, Hipchat, and Heroku — a division of Salesforce — were knocked offline for hours during the evening. Dropbox also was affected by the outage. Several days later, Amazon explained the cause of the fault — which hit its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service — was a power failure. Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/amazon-explains-latest-cloud-outage-blame-the-power/80094

35. June 17, Charleston Gazette – (West Virginia) Phone service outage reported in East Bank. More than 1,600 Frontier Communications customers in the East Bank area of Kanawha County in West Virginia were without phone service June 17, according to Metro 9-1-1’s Web site. Frontier employees were working to fix the problem. Source: http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/201206170085

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