Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Daily Report

• According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. aviation regulators have proposed mandatory inspections of hundreds of Boeing Co. jetliners to check for potential fuel-system problems. The FAA said the move applies to nearly all Boeing jetliner models. (See item 20)

• The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that three of the ten dams that failed or were compromised Monday in Wisconsin have not been inspected since 1993. State law mandates that all large dams be inspected once every 10 years. (See item 51)

Banking and Finance Sector

14. June 10, Washington Post – (District of Columbia) Tax suspect’s guidance on software left D.C. at risk. The tax manager charged as the mastermind of the biggest fraud in the District’s history helped play a role in designing the agency’s computer system while she was allegedly stealing millions of dollars a year, current and former employees said. Following her input, officials left her small unit out of the new software system, making it easier for her to escape detection as she allegedly produced fake checks that prosecutors say amounted to $50 million. Directors in the scandal-plagued tax department now want to scrap the $135 million system rather than try to upgrade it to make it more secure. The chief financial officer’s technology manager says the system, installed between 2000 and 2004, is too outdated and clumsy to be worth fixing. A chief financial officer has budgeted $10 million for a search for a new program that can process the city’s income, business, and real estate taxes. The Accenture computer system is not directly to blame for the embezzlement scandals that have racked the agency, officials said. Rather, the fault lies with the decisions of what was left out of it. Source:

15. June 10, Wichita Eagle – (National) SEC alleges 1,300 ripped off in oil, gas fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an amended case Monday against several area businessmen and oil and gas companies alleging fraud that ripped off more than 1,300 investors. The case involves about $156 million raised from investors across the country and Canada, which likely makes it the largest SEC case -- monetarily -- ever filed in Kansas, a spokesman said. Defendants in the case, the SEC says, sold securities “by making numerous representations, omissions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods.” Defendants include Wichita and Hutchinson businessmen, and others from Kansas and California as well as Hutchinson, Wichita, and Oklahoma companies. Investigators say the defendants raised money through 22 purported oil-and-gas equipment-leasing and pipeline joint ventures set up to evade securities laws. They lured investors, the SEC says, through the promise of annual returns of 25 to 40 percent and an initial public offering that they said would result in returns as high as three to eight times the investments. Money was supposed to be used to buy and refurbish about 59 oil-and-gas rigs, but only eight are operating, the SEC’s complaint says. The company was never taken public. Source:

16. June 9, KFDM 6 Beaumont – (Texas) Orange Savings Bank warning community about internet scam. Orange Savings Bank in Orange, Texas, tells KFDM it has been inundated with calls from customers and non-customers asking about solicitation emails and calls that seemed to be sent ‘by’ the ‘bank’. The email asks the receiver to call a certain number to learn about recent activity on a bank account with Orange Savings. Another email floating around claiming to be from Orange Savings warns the person about a fraud attempt against the bank and offers a link to complete a security prevention program. The Orange Savings Bank president says he and his staff members, along with the FBI, have been fighting this ‘phishing’ form of fraud for the past three months. The bank says the scammers are choosing their potential victims randomly, ’not’ through the bank’s records. Source:

17. June 9, WSLS 10 Roanoke – (Virginia) Phishing scam targets Bank of Floyd customers. A new phishing e-mail scam targets Bank of Floyd customers. The e-mail claims the recipients’ online account has expired, and if they want to continue using the bank’s online service, they have to renew their account. If they do not, the e-mail threatens to deactivate and delete the online account. The e-mail then gives a link to click on. That link takes the victims to a website where the criminals ask them to enter their personal information in, so they can use it. Source:

18. June 9, BBC – (National) Card fraud at Northern Rock in U.S. Current account customers of the Northern Rock have been stopped from using their debit cards in the U.S. to buy items in stores. The nationalized bank said it taken this measure to counter some apparent frauds on its debit cards there. The current account holders can still use their debit cards in U.S. cash machines or anywhere else world-wide. A bank spokesman said the fraud had affected “very few” people and the block on the cards was temporary. “As a result of this potentially fraudulent activity we are temporarily blocking debit card transactions made in the U.S., or via a U.S. merchant,” he said. Northern Rock said the transactions appeared to involve cards that had been cloned rather than stolen. The bank does not disclose how many current account holders it has, but it is thought to number in only the tens of thousands. The Northern Rock first noticed the frauds in the last few days of last week. Source:

Information Technology

44. June 9, Personal Computer World – (International) Malware fears boost sales of USB blocks. Drive locks that prevented machines being infected via floppy disks are making a comeback in a new form – to block USB ports. Sales of floppy locks dropped when the major malware threat moved online, though there remained a risk that disks could be used to bypass network monitoring to steal data. Electronics supplier Lindy reports a surge in sales of devices that block unauthorized used of USB ports, which have become a major source of infection according to security company ESET. The biggest problem is malware called INF/Autorun, which exploits the Windows facility for running programs automatically when a USB drive is plugged in. USB locks simply place a cover over a port that can be removed with a key. ”Completely disabling a port isn’t a viable option for companies, so USB port blocks are a cost-effective means of mitigating the risk from malware, data theft and the installation of unwanted files and programs,” said a Lindy product manager. Source:

45. June 9, ComputerWorld – (International) Opera adds anti-malware to nearly final browser. Opera Software ASA will include anti-malware and drive-by download defenses in Version 9.5 of its flagship browser, which is now in beta but close to a final release, the company said today. Part of Opera’s “Fraud Protection,” which until now has included only antiphishing tools, puts up messages that warn users when they are about to visit a site that is a known malware host or that has been hacked to serve up Trojan horses, worms and other malicious code. The list of blackballed sites is provided by HauteSecure, said an Opera spokesman. HauteSecure already provides a free tool bar for users of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox browsers. The browser queries Oslo-based Opera’s servers each time a page is requested, and it retrieves a HauteSecure-created blacklist for any compromised pages in that domain. Source:

Communications Sector

46. June 10, Rutland Herald – (Vermont) Internet service in state disrupted by outage; fiber optic cable blamed. Many state businesses found their Internet service interrupted by a problem on the lines provided by Level 3 Communications, according to Vermont’s Chief Information Officer. He said state officials had been contacted by Level 3 Communications, a national network that provides fiber optic services, and been told the company was working on a problem that seemed to have been caused by a cut in a fiber cable or cables leading into Albany. Service around Rutland County was reported interrupted. Service has been restored. Source:

47. June 10, Spectrum Daily News – (Utah) Phone service is interrupted. Telephone and Internet service was interrupted for many residents in Southern Utah for most of Monday evening when a fiber-optic cable was damaged near Pintura. A Qwest spokesman said no crews from the telephone company were working, and it was not clear as of Monday night exactly what had happened to cause the problem. The disruption affected land lines and cell phones, as well as some ATM machines and credit card machines inside businesses. Qwest repair crews were on the scene Monday night and expected to have service restored by midnight. Source:

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