Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Daily Report

• The Salt Lake Tribune reports the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a “flagrant violation” to operators of the West Ridge mine in Carbon County, Utah, the second time in two weeks MSHA has aggressively gone after violations at mines owned by Murray Energy Corp. Violations stem from the accumulation of potentially explosive material. (See item 2)

• According to USA Today, law enforcement agencies across the country, facing tighter budgets, are increasingly turning to civilians to respond to some calls for which sworn officers and deputies are usually responsible. Sending civilians into the field for even routine calls that have little chance of becoming dangerous has been a contentious issue. (See item 32)

Information Technology

35. April 1, Agence France-Presse – (International) NZealand teen convicted over global cyber-crime ring. A New Zealand teenager was convicted Tuesday for his central role in a global cyber-crime ring which infected at least 1.3 million computers worldwide and caused millions of dollars in losses. The teen allegedly led a group of international hackers who used his programs to access personal data, send viruses around the world, and commit other crimes, causing losses of 20 million U.S. dollars, police say. Prosecutors said the exact number of computers in which his malicious or bot code was installed may never be known. Source:;_ylt=AvM.fDDaHiUCjRqLxxuk5AeDzdAF

36. April 1, Associated Press – (International) Cybercrime law enforcement debated. Two groups working separately to boost Europe’s defenses against online crime will present proposals this week, almost a year after most of the nation of Estonia’s links to the Internet were disrupted for days or weeks. At a two-day conference starting Tuesday in Strasbourg, France, the Council of Europe will to review implementation of the international Convention on Cybercrime and discuss ways to improve international cooperation. Cyber defense also will be on the agenda when heads of state from NATO’s 26 member nations gather in Bucharest Wednesday for three days. The leaders are expected to debate new guidelines for coordinating cyber defense. The Convention on Cybercrime, a binding treaty ratified by most members of the 47-nation Council of Europe, provides guidelines to protect computer users against hackers and Internet fraud. The controversial agreement also covers electronic evidence used in prosecution of such offenses as child sexual exploitation, organized crime, and terrorism. At this week’s conference, the council will discuss guidelines to bolster the convention to improve cooperation between investigators and Internet providers, according to the council’s Web site. NATO’s three-day summit, which is to focus on enlarging the treaty organization and on its operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, will include a special briefing on cyber defense, according to the treaty organization’s Web site. Source:

37. March 31, Computerworld – (International) No foolin’, say researchers – Storm attack under way. A new campaign by the Storm Trojan horse began on Monday, as spam posing as April Fools’ Day messages flooded in-boxes, several security companies said. According to analysts at F-Secure Corp., the SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Center (ISC), Symantec Corp., and others, spam bearing a wide range of April Fools’ Day subjects started showing up Monday. Among the subject headings, said an ISC researcher in a post to the group’s blog, were “All Fools’ Day,” “Doh! April Fool,” and “Surprise! The joke’s on you.” The messages carried no text; only a link to an April Fools’-themed URL that in turn tried to download or convince users to download an executable with filenames such as “foolsday.exe” and “kickme.exe.” These executables were, in fact, the Storm Trojan horse, which is identified by some security vendors as Dorf, Nuwar, or Peacomm. Storm’s creators have a history of using holidays to spread their malware, which is designed to add infected Windows PCs to a botnet that can be used for additional spam blasts or for launching denial-of-service attacks. The last major Storm run was in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, for example. Several security firms posted the image that appears when a user clicks on the link within the Storm spam mail, including McAfee Inc. The image is accompanied by text that reads “Your download will start in 5 seconds. If your download does not start, click here and then press ‘Run.’” Storm has been linked by some researchers to the notorious Russian Business Network (RBN) malware-hosting organization. Source:

Communications Sector

38. March 31, Info World – (National) Mobile broadband subscribers increase by 850 percent. The worldwide number of mobile broadband subscribers using HSPA has increased by 850 percent over the past year, according to the GSM Association. But carriers are also running the risk of becoming a victim of their own success. HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is a member of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) family, and currently offers speeds ranging from 1.8Mbps to 7.2Mbps. There are now more than 32 million connections worldwide, compared to 3 million a year ago. But, for operators a big concern is capacity, both in mobile networks and backhaul – the links that attach base stations to the rest of the world, according to the chief research officer at Informa Telecoms and Media. As the subscriber numbers increase, operators will have to upgrade networks, or users will see performance decrease and start to complain. But the question is whether carriers can upgrade networks before users start experiencing problems, he said. Capacity demand will also force carriers to look at other ways of building mobile networks. It will also drive the demand for so-called femtocells, small base stations for the home that offload mobile network traffic by sending data via a fixed broadband connection. The installed base of HSPA subscribers is not the only area of growth. The number of networks and devices has also exploded. Source:;_ylt=AjJAbNUSBGw.YUg.w_rrLfn67rEF