Daily Report Friday, December 29, 2006

Daily Highlights

The U.S. Border Patrol said on Thursday, December 28, that arrests of illegal immigrants along the U.S..Mexican border have dropped by more than a third since National Guard troops started helping with border security. (See item 11)
The Department of Homeland Security has designated the state funeral for former President Gerald R. Ford as a National Special Security Event; the U.S Secret Service will assume its legally mandated role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. (See item 23)

Information Technology and Telecommunications Sector

26. December 28, IDG News Service — Internet access back in Asia after earthquake. Asia's Internet and telecommunication infrastructure showed signs of recovery Thursday, December 28, following service disruptions caused by a series of powerful earthquakes off Taiwan's southern coast earlier this week. A pair of powerful earthquakes rattled southern Taiwan within eight minutes of each other on Tuesday evening, local time, causing damage to undersea telecommunication cables. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said the first was a magnitude 6.7 quake and the second quake was slightly smaller, at magnitude 6.4. Repairing the cables will cost about $1.5 million, Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Source: http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/12/28/HNaccessbackinasia _1.html

27. December 27, eWeek — Report: Spamming soared in 2006. A report on spam by e.mail security firm Commtouch Software dubs 2006 the "Year of the Zombies." The study found that "zombies" can number up to eight million hosts globally on a given day. As a result, spam volume increased greatly in 2006, according to the report. "Spam outbreaks got bigger, faster and smarter during 2006," Amir Lev, president and chief technical officer for Commtouch, based in Netanya, Israel, said in a statement. "Innovative spammers quickly developed new techniques to bypass common anti.spam technologies and amassed huge zombie botnets. Outbreaks have become so fast, massive and sophisticated that most anti.spam solutions had great difficulty defending against them." Zombie activity, the report found, accounts for 85 percent of the spam circulating the Internet. Multi.wave image.spam outbreaks brought the spam bloat to 1.7 billion MB per day. eBay and PayPal remain top targets for fraud, their names being used in 50 percent of all phishing attempts, the report said.
Report: http://www.commtouch.com/documents/Commtouch_2006_Spam_Trends_Year_of_the_Zombies.pdf
Source: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2077665,00.asp

28. December 27, eWeek — Level 3 Communications to buy SAVVIS CDN division. Level 3 Communications has announced plans to purchase the Content Delivery Network (CDN) services business of SAVVIS for $135 million in cash, a move meant to enable the company to provide more rich media services via the Web. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.
Source: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2077542,00.asp

29. December 27, Tech Web — Chinese hackers launch new Office attack. A Microsoft PowerPoint presentation circulating via e.mail is the latest example of a 2006 trend in which paid.for.hire Chinese hackers target Western businesses with malicious Office documents, a security researcher said Wednesday, December 27. The newest threat, said Ken Dunham, director of VeriSign iDefense's rapid response team, hides within an apparently innocent PowerPoint slide show, "Christmas+Blessing.4.ppt," which is attached to an e.mail message. The PowerPoint file, which circulated sans exploits last year around Christmas, has been making the rounds since Sunday. "The reality is that this is a very popular file," said Dunham, "and poorly detected by most antivirus scanners." More important is that Christmas+Blessing.4 shares characteristics with the Office document.based attacks that began seven months ago. "This is very similar to other Office attacks from May and June," Dunham said. "It's a targeted attack, this time [against a company] in the public utility sector."
Source: http://www.techweb.com/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=0H10B415G23DUQSNDLPSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleId=196702154