Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Friday, October 17, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 17, 2008

Daily Report


 An Associated Press survey of the 20 busiest U.S. airports found that seven of them — Philadelphia, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — let people with gun permits carry firearms in the general public areas of the terminal. (See item 16)

16. October 15, Associated Press (National) In many U.S. airports, guns are OK outside security. Flying in the United States has been transformed since September 11th, with passengers forced to remove their shoes, take out their laptop computers, and put liquids and gels in clear plastic bags. Yet it is perfectly legal to take a loaded gun right up to the security checkpoint at some of the nation’s biggest airports. An Associated Press survey of the 20 busiest U.S. airports found that seven of them — Philadelphia, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — let people with gun permits carry firearms in the general public areas of the terminal. Some anti-terrorism experts say that is a glaring security loophole that could endanger airport workers, passengers, and people waiting to pick them up or see them off. Other authorities say the nonsecure areas of the terminal are no different from other public venues and do not warrant special restrictions. However, even at those airports that ban guns, officials are not frisking people or using metal detectors on them as they enter the terminal. Experts say such an additional layer of security would be unworkable at America’s bustling airports. Source:

 According to Occupational Health & Safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Forest Service for 51 alleged serious safety violations, 77 repeat violations, and 16 other-than-serious violations at 10 locations throughout the Salmon-Challis National Forest and involving ranger districts in Idaho. (See item 35)

35. October 16, Occupational Health & Safety – (Idaho) U.S. Forest Service cited for 144 safety violations in Idaho. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the U.S. Forest Service for 51 alleged serious safety violations, 77 repeat violations, and 16 other-than-serious violations at 10 locations throughout the Salmon-Challis National Forest and involving ranger districts in Salmon, Challis, North Fork, Mackay, and Leadore, Idaho. The agency’s inspection found serious violations involving fall hazards, emergency egress design and maintenance, machine guarding, storage of compressed gas cylinders, liquefied petroleum gas, and flammable liquids and electrical hazards. In addition, OSHA cited the supervisor’s office for a broad spectrum of deficiencies in its agency-required safety and health program. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

7. October 16, Wall Street Journal– (National) U.S. agencies investigate WaMu failure. Federal prosecutors are investigating the failure of Washington Mutual Inc., citing the “intense public interest” in the largest bank collapse in the history of the country. A U.S. attorney in Seattle, said he has formed a task force with investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s inspector general. “Given the significant losses to investors, employees and our community, it is fully appropriate that we scrutinize the activities of the bank, its leaders and others to determine if any federal laws were violated,” the attorney said. The investigation into Washington Mutual is part of a wider effort by U.S. law enforcement to determine the extent of fraud connected to the subprime-lending troubles that have battered financial institutions. The Justice Department has allowed the probes to be handled largely in U.S. attorneys’ offices around the country. Source:

8. October 16, Daily Chronicle – (Illinois) Banking scam using email. A scam in which perpetrators claim to represent local banks now includes both phone calls and e-mails to area residents, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday. The e-mails advise the recipient that their account has been suspended and they should click on a link and enter some personal information to reactivate the account. Other county residents have received automated phone calls that also name local banks and direct recipients to call an 800 number to reactivate an account. So far, American National Bank of DeKalb County and Resource Bank have been identified as the banks whose names are being used in the scams. Source: http://www.daily-

9. October 15, Reuters – (National) SEC again makes case for regulation of CDS. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and other policymakers have called for oversight of the fast-growing $55 trillion credit default swap (CDS) market, which has been blamed for contributing to the global financial crisis. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is calling for a centralized derivative clearinghouse to reduce the risk posed by CDS. The swaps can pose systemic risks because the secretive nature of the market makes it impossible to know the size and distribution of a counterparty’s exposures. The SEC’s current authority over the over-the-counter credit default swaps is limited to enforcing anti-fraud prohibitions such as insider trading. Source:

10. October 15, Bloomberg – (National) SEC makes hedge funds report short sales until 2009. Investment managers who oversee more than $100 million must disclose to the SEC the stocks they have bet will fall in price until August 1, the agency said in a statement on its Web site Wednesday. Those positions will not be made public, the SEC said. Under the SEC rule, hedge funds will have to report weekly any new short positions they take. The records will be shielded from public disclosure in Freedom of Information Act requests because they are considered “trade secrets,” the SEC said. Such documents are exempt from release. Source:

11. October 15, St. Petersburg Times – (Florida) 5 bay area firms targeted in credit scam inquiry. Florida’s attorney general is targeting five Tampa Bay area companies in a statewide campaign against scams on people desperate for relief from debt and credit problems. The state has already settled with New Leaf Associates of Port Richey. This week, the Attorney General filed suit against Dunedin-based Enterprise Technology Group, which was operating as Ameritrust Financial Card. The state says the company charged $200 enrollment fees for a credit card that it claimed would perform like a normal card and could improve a person’s credit score, but did not. The Attorney General’s office has also subpoenaed records from three other bay area debt-relief companies: Financial Freedom Resources Inc. of Clearwater, Specialized Funding of Largo and United Debt Solutions, also known as American Debt Arbitration of Tampa. The office said companies being looked at — there are 31 in Florida — are suspected of violating the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act along with other laws regulating telephone solicitation and credit counseling services. Source:

Information Technology

31. October 16, – (International) Security industry falling behind the hackers. A Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) panel comprising members of the government, IT specialists and academics warned in its 2008 Emerging Cyber Threats Report (PDF) that existing systems are falling behind hacking techniques, which are becoming more popular and effective. “The rapid rate of application development for these mediums has outpaced information security technology so far,” the report concludes. The report highlights five key areas that need addressing: botnets, Web 2.0 attacks, targeted messaging, telecommunications and RFID hacking. The panel suggests that carriers must do more to integrate firewalls within IP subsystems to check the spread for botnets. The emergence of Web 2.0 poses new threats to internet users, the report finds. “In 2008, expect to see underground organizations shift tactics and focus more on Web 2.0, particularly mashup technologies, leading to more abuses at the user end wherever possible.” The increasing convergence of communications systems and computing into voice over IP (VoIP) systems also poses new dangers. Finally, RFID hacking is expected to take off in 2008. “In the near future, GTISC expects mainstream exploit tools to enable less technical hackers to attack RFID technologies.” Source:

32. October 16, IDG News service – (National) Woman is first to plead guilty in notorious spam case. A woman accused of helping a spam kingpin send out tens of millions of unwanted e-mail messages each day has pleaded guilty to spam charges. She pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges October 14 in federal court in Michigan. She was arrested in January and charged with participating in a complex pump-and-dump stock scam that flogged Chinese penny stocks. With her guilty plea, she has agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice as it pursues its case against ten other people, including the spam kingpin, who were allegedly involved in the scam. She claims the kingpin is a legitimate business operator, but antispam advocates have long considered him one of the world’s most prolific junk e-mailers. The Department of Justice claims that the kingpin and others used a botnet network of infected computers to send out tens of millions of spam messages per day. . Source:

Communications Sector

33. October 16, The Times – (International) Internet phone calls are crippling fight against terrorism. The huge growth in Internet telephone traffic is jeopardizing the capability of police to investigate almost every type of crime, senior sources have told The Times. As more and more phone calls are routed over the web – using software such as Skype – police are losing the ability to track who has called whom, from where, and for how long. The key difficulty facing police is that, unlike mobile phone companies, which retain call data for billing purposes, Internet call companies have no reason to keep the material. The U.K.’s Home Secretary outlined plans Wednesday for a huge expansion of the government’s capability to access data held by Internet services, including social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo, and gaming networks. The move follows growing concern among police and the security services that serious criminals and terrorists are using websites as a way of concealing their communications. Source:

34. October 16, Aurora Beacon News – (Illinois) NTSB investigating cause of helicopter crash. The National Transportation Surface Board (NTSB) says it is investigating whether the radio tower that an Air Angels helicopter clipped Wednesday night was properly lit, whether the pilot was flying high enough, and whether there were any mechanical problems. Four people were killed in the crash when the helicopter went down in a cornfield late Wednesday in Aurora, Illinois. A spokesman for the NTSB said Thursday that the helicopter’s rotor blade may have separated during flight, but he would not speculate on the cause. The agency will issue a preliminary report within a week, he said. He said the helicopter was flying about 50 feet below the top of the tower when the wire was clipped. He said NTSB was investigating whether lights on the tower were on at the time or could have been knocked out during the incident. “I can say that when I was out here last night after the accident that the lights on the tower were not lit,” he said Thursday. The Air Angels chief executive officer said the pilot did not report mechanical problems, and weather was not an issue. Source:,aurora-helicopter-crash-sidebar-au101608.article

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