Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daily Report

• According to Reuters, the FBI is investigating a bomb threat made Friday against a Shell Oil Co.’s Anacortes, Washington, refinery. After receiving the threat, Shell searched the refinery, but found nothing suspicious. (See item 3)

• Medical News Today reports that University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have developed new vaccines to protect against West Nile and Japanese encephalitis viruses. (See item 27)

Banking and Finance Sector

10. June 1, East Oregonian – (National) FBI warns of new e-mail scams. The FBI is asking people to beware of e-mails claiming to raise money to help victims of the recent earthquakes in China. Some Chinese earthquake scam messages claim to offer free vacation trips to the largest donors and even use fake logos of legitimate online pay services to fool people. Source: http://www.eastoregonian.info/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=48&ArticleID=78463&TM=68978.86

11. May 31, Jackson Citizen Patriot – (National) Credit union target of phishing scam. CP Federal Credit Union is making its members aware of a new e-mail scam. The email, which was sent to both members and non-members, appeared to come from the credit union. It claimed that the member had a new security message from the credit union’s customer service department regarding a suspended account. It then encouraged the recipient to click on a link to view the message. On Friday, CP posted a short message on its Web site advising people not to click on the link. The credit union contacted the authorities and the phishing Web site was disabled. Source: http://www.mlive.com/business/citpat/index.ssf?/base/business-2/121222831512590.xml&coll=3

Information Technology

36. June 2, Computerworld – (National) Critical Connections study reveals need for increased collaboration on the cyber frontier. Increased collaboration and information sharing between the public and private sectors is needed to improve cybersecurity, according to “Critical Connections,” a new study released Monday by Symantec Corp. The study examines each sector’s information security priorities, as well as awareness of and attitudes toward the new National Cyber Security Initiative, a proposed federal initiative that would allocate more than $30 billion over the next seven to 10 years to improve cybersecurity. Attendees at the Symantec Government Symposium on July 31 in Washington, D.C. will continue discussion on these critical topics. The survey found that 68 percent of federal, 59 percent of private sector, and 48 percent of state and local respondents call for increased collaboration to improve cybersecurity. In addition, 78 percent of private sector respondents say they want more information from the government on cyber threats. To download the Critical Connections podcast, visit http://www.symantec.com/about/news/podcasts/detail.jsp?podid=b-critical_connections. Source: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0402595.htm

37. June 2, Dark Reading – (National) Look beyond executable files, botnet researchers warn. After years of education and awareness training, most users – and their antivirus applications – know to be suspicious of email attachments that carry the “.exe” suffix. But users and AV tools are fairly trusting of other types of files – and botnet operators are beginning to take advantage of that trust. According to a report published Monday by anti-botnet technology and research firm Damballa, many bot herders are now recruiting their “zombie” participants or levying targeted attacks by hiding malware in real-looking documents that arrive in everyday formats such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Reader. “What we’re seeing are a lot more exploits that use everyday document types, such as PDFs or Microsoft Word,” says a senior researcher at Damballa, who authored the study. These files are increasingly attached to convincing-looking emails targeted at top executives, claiming to be IRS complaints against the company or quarterly reports, he says. End users aren’t the only ones who don’t recognize these sorts of boobytrapped documents, the researcher says. Most antivirus applications do not recognize malware when it is hidden in conventional document types. Source: http://www.darkreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=155240

38. June 2, Associated Press – (National) One quarter of US PCs infected with malware: OECD. An Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study into online crime says that increased activity by cyber criminals has left an estimated one-in-four US computers infected with malware. The report, entitled Malicious Software (malware): a Security Threat to the Internet Economy, gives an impression of two worlds engaged in an uneven war of virus invasion and belated defense. Cyber crime, to steal data, spy and attack government and business computer systems “is a potentially serious threat to the internet economy,” warns the study, published on Friday. Organizations involved in “fighting malware offer essentially a fragmented local response to a global threat,” the OCED says. It is estimated that 59 million users in the U.S. have spyware or other types of malware on their computers,” the OECD report said. The OECD warns that all forms of hacking have gone far beyond the adolescent disruption of the early days of the personal computer, to become a powerful and growing weapon in the hands of serious criminals. It is highly profitable, at minimal cost to the criminals but a huge and unknown cost to honest users. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/news/security/a-quarter-of-us-pcs-infected-with-malware-oecd/2008/06/02/1212258708582.html?s_cid=rss_technology

39. May 31, Computerworld – (National) Microsoft urges Windows users to shut down Safari. Last Friday, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) issued a security advisory for what it called a “blended threat” caused by combination of a bug in Apple’s Safari Web browser and a vulnerability in how Windows XP and Windows Vista handle executable files placed on the desktop. The Safari bug Microsoft referred to is the same one disclosed two weeks ago, which Apple declined to treat as a security issue, said the director of security operations at nCircle Network Security Inc. Microsoft told users to “restrict use of Safari as a Web browser until an appropriate update is available from Microsoft and/or Apple,” but also acknowledged that a successful attack would require not only leveraging the Safari bug, but also exploiting a vulnerability in its own software. “A combination of the default download location in Safari and how the Windows desktop handles executables creates a blended threat in which files may be downloaded to a user’s machine without prompting, allowing them to be executed,” said Microsoft. Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=security&articleId=9091638&taxonomyId=17&intsrc=kc_top

Communications Sector

40. June 1, BroadbandReports.com – (National) Data center fire at The Planet disrupts popular blogging service. One of Houston-based data centers of The Planet, a dedicated server hosting provider which operates six large data centers in Texas, suffered from a fire Saturday night which left all 9,000 servers there temporarily down which means that approximately 7,500 customers can’t access their websites. One of those customers is Entrecard, a popular social networking and advertising service for bloggers. The fire apparently did not do any actual damage to the servers but caused the power to go out which took out the service. As of Sunday morning, there was no estimated time of repair. Source: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Data-Center-Fire-at-The-Planet-Disrupts-Popular-Blogging-Service-94904