Friday, May 9, 2008

Daily Report

• The New York Daily News reports the Queens Borough President warned that an Amtrak bridge over the busy intersection in Woodside, New York, has severe cracks in its concrete exterior, posing a significant danger to pedestrians and motorists. (See item 11)

• According to the St. Petersburg Times, on Wednesday, a man walked into a St. Petersburg, Florida, courthouse and opened fire on two bailiffs. When the shooting ended, one bailiff was injured, and the shooter was dead. (See item 33)

Information Technology

37. May 8, Computerworld Australia – (International) Parasitic botnet spams 60 billion a day. The Srizbi botnet has stormed over its competition to become the Internet’s biggest spammer. Researchers claim the botnet is responsible for 50 percent of all spam, and is the biggest of its kind in history. Its 300,000 zombie computers are being worked hard. The much larger Storm Worm required about 500,000 nodes – with some figures even suggesting anywhere between 1 million to 50 million – to deliver 30 percent of global spam. The director at the U.S. consultancy Secure Works, said the Srizbi Trojan is the biggest botnet in history and the most powerful. He said Srizbi, aka “Cbeplay” and “Exchanger,” can blast out 60 billion messages a day. Storm is now in a tea cup after its spam output was cut down to a mere two percent, due to widespread media coverage which kicked off a race by security vendors to squash the threat. Trojan.Srizbi is one of the first full-kernel pieces of malware, according to Symantec. It hides itself as a rootkit and operates completely within the kernel, without any interaction in user mode. The Trojan is rumored to contain code capable of uninstalling competing rootkits. The Rustock botnet has taken the second spot as the most notorious spammer, Mega-D third, followed by Hacktool.Spammer, Pushdo, and Storm. One company estimates about 15 percent of spam is from other sources. Srizbi has been documented selling watches, pens, and of course Viagra. Source:

38. May 8, Techworld – (International) Belgium accuses China of cyberattacks. It is not just the U.S. and U.K. who are crying foul over China’s behavior in cyberspace – now the government of tiny Belgium has accused hackers from the country of targeting its systems. Belgium’s justice minister is reported to have claimed that their federal government had been targeted by Chinese hackers, backing up a separate statement by Belgium’s foreign affairs minister that his ministry had been hit by espionage in recent weeks. In both cases, the Belgians appear certain that the culprits were Chinese and that Beijing authorities must know something about events, although no evidence has been offered to back up these allegations. The precise nature of the attacks has not been explained either. If the accusation is justified, it is starting to look as if Chinese-originated cyberattacks have spread well beyond the obvious Western targets. The Chinese have been implicated in acts of cyber espionage in the last couple of years, including various alleged assaults on U.S. military systems in 2006 and 2007. As recently as last September, a “leaked” report blamed the Chinese for a similar attack on the Pentagon. Source:

Communications Sector

39. May 7, Associated Press – (National) Comcast mulling Net usage cap to discourage 'excessive' use. Comcast Corp., the nation’s second-largest Internet service provider, is considering setting an official limit on the amount of data that subscribers can download per month and charging a fee for those who go over. As more consumers download movies and music online, Internet service providers have to grapple with how to manage their traffic so that bandwidth hogs do not slow down the network for the lighter users among the company’s 14.1 million subscribers. For years, Comcast directly called customers who used up several times more bandwidth than the typical subscriber’s 2 gigabytes per month. The big users were asked to reduce their use or have their accounts canceled. Some Comcast customers have griped that the company has not been more forthcoming about the bandwidth ceiling at which they would get a call. Comcast’s shift aims to improve transparency. Comcast and other ISPs, however, may be acting too late to change consumer behavior, said the research vice president at Gartner Inc. “Once you’re on an unlimited plan, it’s hard to go back,” he said. “On the wireline side, it’s almost an inalienable right to use as much bandwidth as you want for a set price.” A report that Comcast was considering limits on monthly use appeared in the online tech forum and was confirmed Wednesday by the company. Source: