Daily Report Friday, February 16, 2007

Daily Highlights

The Associated Press reports that Jet Blue Airlines passengers were left waiting on planes at a New York airport for as long as nine hours during a snow and ice storm, Wednesday, February 14. (See item 12)
The Associated Press reports another 100 National Guardsmen will soon be stationed along New Mexico’s southern border with Mexico bringing Guard numbers close to 900 for the region, according to a commander with Operation Jump Start. (See item 18)

Information Technology and Telecommunications Sector

34. February 15, IDG News Service — Attackers seize on new zero−day in Word. Microsoft's Word and Office programs have been targeted again, with the company warning that hackers may already exploiting a new vulnerability found in the applications. The warning comes just after the company issued fixes for 20 other bugs in its products on Tuesday, February 13, including six for Word. The latest problem affects Office 2000 and Office XP, Microsoft said in a security advisory on Wednesday. An attacker could create a specially−crafted Word document that, if opened, could allow them to control a victim's computer remotely. As usual it advised great caution when opening unsolicited attachments. Microsoft said it had received reports of "very limited, targeted" attacks. Danish security vendor Secunia ranked the problem as "extremely critical." The emergence of a security bug so soon after Microsoft's scheduled patch release follows a familiar pattern by hackers, who want to maximize the amount of time they have to take advantage of a vulnerability, said Thomas Kristensen, Secunia's chief technical officer.
Microsoft Advisory: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/933052.ms px
Source: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/02/15/HNzerodayinword_1. html

35. February 15, IDG News Service — Drive−by Web attack could hit home routers. If you haven't changed the default password on your home router, do so now. That's what researchers at Symantec and Indiana University are saying, after publishing the results of tests that show how attackers could take over your home router using malicious JavaScript code. For the attack to work, the attackers would need a couple of things to go their way. First, the victim would have to visit a malicious Website that served up the JavaScript. Second, the victim's router would have to still use the default password that it's pre−configured with it out of the box. In tests, the researchers were able to do things like change firmware and redirect a D−Link Systems DI−524 wireless router to look up Websites from a Domain Name System server of their choosing. They describe these attacks in a paper, authored by Sid Stamm and Markus Jakobsson of Indiana University, and Symantec's Zulfikar Ramzan. "By visiting a malicious Webpage, a person can inadvertently open up his router for attack," the researchers write. "A Website can attack home routers from the inside and mount sophisticated...attacks that may result in denial−of−service, malware infection, or identity theft."
Research: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/pub/techreports/TR641.pdf
Source: http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/02/15/HNdrivebywebattack _1.html

36. February 15, CNET News — U.S. servers use more power than Mississippi. It's no secret that the servers behind every Web 2.0 company, bank Internet site and corporate e−mail system are consuming ever larger amounts of power. But now a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study has quantified exactly how much. Servers in the United States and their attendant cooling systems consumed 45 billion kilowatt−hours of energy in 2005. That's more than Mississippi and 19 other states, according to study author Jonathan Koomey, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and consulting professor at Stanford University. And the computers' electricity appetite is still growing fast. "Over a five−year period from 2000 to 2005, there has been about a doubling," Koomey said. Most of the growth is from the widespread adoption of lower−end servers costing less than $25,000, he said. Server power demand has moved high up customer priority lists−− especially with rising power costs and overstuffed data centers −− and hardware makers are responding. Among the touted fixes are energy−efficient processors, power consumption caps, water cooling and consolidation of work from numerous inefficient low−end servers to fewer, more−powerful machines.
Source: http://news.com.com/U.S.+servers+slurp+more+power+than+Mississippi/2100−1010_3−6159583.html?tag=nefd.top

37. February 15, VNUNet — Quake−hit Web links restored in Asia. Asian telecom cables damaged in an earthquake late last year have been fully repaired, restoring Internet links to the region, Hong Kong authorities announced Wednesday, February 14. Two violent magnitude seven quakes in the space of five minutes either directly severed undersea cables, or triggered undersea landslides that buried and broke the data links on December 26. The links normally carry more than 80 percent of East Asia's voice and data traffic.
Source: http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2183438/asia−net−links−res tored

38. February 14, Sophos — Chinese police consider releasing hacker's Panda virus fix. Sophos has advised computer users to think carefully about how they remedy virus infections, following news that the Chinese police are to release a clean−up program written by the author of the Fujacks worm. According to media reports from China, authorities are planning to issue a fix to the Fujacks worm which turns icons into a picture of a panda burning joss−sticks. Controversially, the utility has been written by Li Jun, the suspect author of the virus. "Hackers and virus writers have shown themselves to be irresponsible and untrustworthy and I certainly wouldn't choose to run their code on my computer," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Additionally, the Fujacks virus left some infected files unable to run. That hardly suggests that the author took quality assurance seriously when he constructed his malware."
Source: http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2007/02/fuja cks−fix.html