Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for July 30, 2008

Daily Report

• The Associated Press reports that authorities in Ohio have evacuated areas around the post offices of two Ohio communities because of the discovery of what appear to be unexploded pipe bombs. (See item 17)

• According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia’s largest health insurer sent an estimated 202,000 benefits letters containing personal and health information to the wrong addresses last week, in a privacy breach that raised concerns about potential identity theft. (See item 27)

Banking and Finance Sector

8. July 29, Bradenton Herald – (Florida) Local men charged in $83M bank fraud. Three Sarasota men and one from Tampa are facing numerous federal charges that they bilked banks out of almost $83 million on several land sales in Manatee and Sarasota counties. They are accused of defrauding seven banks through a complex scheme involving seven real-estate transactions, four of them in Manatee, from 2004 to 2006. The FBI began investigating the men’s dealings as part of Operation Malicious Mortgage, a fraud crackdown that so far has netted more than 400 arrests nationwide. Source:

9. July 28, KGO 7 San Francisco – (National) Macy’s security breach halts card service. Macy’s had to notify 4,100 customers across the country who hold a Macy’s Visa credit card – not the regular charge card. Macy’s says there was a massive security breach at a Visa processing center in England. Thieves got hold of Visa account numbers and started making unauthorized charges, mainly at gas stations. Macy’s is freezing the accounts of all 4,100 holders of the Macy’s Visa card, but only those who had any transactions processed in England. Macy’s advises customers to check for any unauthorized charges on their Macy’s Visa. The company says, so far, it appears only account numbers were stolen, not personal information. Source:

10. July 28, Associated Press – (National) Four indicted in $20 million mortgage scheme. Two real estate agents and a married couple who ran nursing homes are facing federal charges alleging they defrauded several banks of $20 million dollars in a complicated mortgage scheme. The four face 126 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes. The alleged scheme ran between 2002 and 2007 and involved recruiting people to pose as buyers for almost 20 properties, many of them nursing homes in the suburbs east of San Francisco, according to the indictment. The real estate agents are accused of obtaining loans for the “straw buyers” using false income and employment information. Federal prosecutors allege two of the suspects recruited many of the buyers and funneled loan money into their own bank accounts. Source:

Information Technology

36. July 29, IDG News Service – (National) Oracle issues warning over dangerous WebLogic flaw. Oracle Corp. is scrambling to create an emergency patch for a severe vulnerability in the company’s WebLogic server, as exploit code is circulating on the Web. The company issued a rare security alert today, the first off-schedule warning since it introduced a regularly scheduled patch release cycle more than three years ago. The problem lies in the Apache plug-in for the Oracle WebLogic Server and Express products (formerly known as BEA WebLogic), both application servers. The vulnerability can be exploited over a network without a need for a username or password, Oracle wrote in an advisory. The flaw can result in “compromising the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the targeted system.” The problem scores a 10.0, the most serious rating, on the CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) scale, a framework used to evaluate the risks of a particular flaw. Oracle advised administrators to implement a work-around while it is working to create a patch. Source:

Communications Sector

37. July 29, Associated Press – (West Virginia) W.Va. still struggling with cell phone gaps. Dropped calls and bad connections are all too familiar to West Virginia cell phone users, but the state says things are improving. The State Homeland Security Director told lawmakers Monday that his agency has worked with businesses and local governments to install 11 cell towers throughout the state in the last year. Persistent problems with cell coverage remain, though. The head of the state Public Service Commission’s consumer advocate division, said those problems stem more from coverage gaps as opposed to so-called dead zones. His office estimates it costs as much as $500,000 to build a cell phone tower in West Virginia. Source:

38. July 29, Times Herald-Record – (National) Verizon strike looms; contract talks go on. Verizon officials and union workers were still in contract negotiations Monday as a strike deadline approached. Union workers have voted to strike if an agreement is not reached by the expiration of the current contract at midnight Saturday. One of the major disputes is what union officials say is the outsourcing of many jobs to non-union subcontractors. A spokesman for Local 1101 of the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents many of the workers, cited what he said were $5.5 billion in Verizon profits and $82 million paid to its top five executives in 2007 as evidence the company can afford what workers are asking for. A Verizon spokesman declined to comment on the negotiations, but said a strike would not affect customer service. The timing of a strike could be bad for Verizon, which just began rolling out its new fiber-optic FiOS service in the region, meant to offer an alternative to cable TV and to ameliorate the loss of land-line customers. The strike could involve as many as 65,000 workers from New England to Virginia. Verizon employs about 600 people in the region. Source:

39. July 29, Associated Press – (National) MSU, local company work on satellite development. Mississippi State University and InfiniSat, a technology business in Starkville, are working together to develop small, low-cost satellites for the U.S. market. The satellites would gather information for wide range of projects, from weather prediction to disaster monitoring and communication. MSU and InfiniSat are working with federal research agencies to develop affordable, effective technologies that can be put into use quickly. The director of the Northern Gulf Institute, an MSU-based cooperative program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the goal is to build “a full spaceflight mission operations and training center for Mississippi” with the power to track and communicate with satellites overhead. Source: