Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Monday, August 11, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for August 11, 2008

Daily Report

• According to USA Today, the Transportation Security Administration may allow airports to ban firearms from terminals, parking lots, roads, and other airport areas where many states currently allow passengers to carry lethal weapons. (See item 18)

• United Press International reports that a cell phone call to 911 from a Vermont murder victim went astray and delayed police for more than 30 minutes. WPTZ 5 Plattsburgh said it was not unheard of for 911 calls placed in Vermont to be picked up in New York’s Washington County. (See item 44)

Banking and Finance Sector

15. August 8, South Shore Express – (Massachusetts) Bank warns of cell phone scam. This week, the chief executive officer of Mutual Bank urged the public to beware of a cell phone/identity theft scam, and to immediately contact authorities if they receive such a message. A number of cell phone owners in the region received text messages from a source claiming to be Mutual Bank, saying that the customer’s bank account access had been locked, and urging recipients to call 508-424-1203 to restore the account. According to the official, a recorded message then asks for the customer’s card and pin number. He said the scam is apparently the work of scam artists who picked the name of the bank and sent text messages to a random list of cell phone owners, in the hope that at least some of the people on their list were actually Mutual Bank customers. The cell phone numbers did not come from Mutual Bank, he said. Mutual Bank’s main office is in Whitman and the bank has branches in Brockton, Carver, Falmouth, Halifax, Hanson, and Middleboro. Source:

16. August 7, Reuters – (National) Bank of America gets subpoenas, reports SEC probe. Bank of America Corp, the largest U.S. retail bank, said on Thursday it received subpoenas and requests for information relating to auction-rate securities from federal and state government agencies. In addition, Bank of America said it received subpoenas, interrogatories, or civil investigative demands from a number of state attorneys general regarding municipal derivatives transactions from 1992 to the present. Bank of America said it is cooperating with regulators. It disclosed the various matters in its quarterly report filed with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Separately, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said Countrywide Financial Corp, the mortgage lending giant it bought last month, has responded to subpoenas from the SEC and faces a formal investigation by that agency. Countrywide, meanwhile, is also under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), authorities have said. The FBI last month said it had 21 corporate targets in its investigation of potential corporate fraud in the mortgage industry. California, Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois have all sued Countrywide over its lending practices. Source:

17. August 7, Associated Press – (National) Citigroup returning billions to investors. Citigroup Inc. will buy back more than $7 billion in auction-rate securities and pay $100 million in fines as part of settlements with federal and state regulators, who said the bank marketed the investments as safe despite liquidity risks. Citigroup will buy back the securities from tens of thousands of investors nationwide under separate accords announced Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a New York Attorney General and other state regulators. The buybacks must be completed by November. The nation’s largest financial institution also will pay a $50 million civil penalty to New York State and a separate $50 million civil penalty to the North American Securities Administrators Association, which represents securities regulators in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, New York-based Citigroup agreed to make its best efforts to liquidate by the end of next year all of the roughly $12 billion of auction-rate securities it sold to retirement plans and other institutional investors. The $330 billion auction-rate securities market involves investors buying and selling securities backed by municipal bonds, student loans and other debt. Interest rates on the securities are set at periodic auctions, on the basis of bids submitted. Source:

Information Technology

41. August 8, All Headline News – (Michigan) University of Michigan engineers develop off-PC virus detection system. Engineers at the University of Michigan (UM) have developed a new approach to protect computers against viruses more effectively than traditional antivirus software installed on PCs. The approach, called CloudAV, analyzes files using 12 different antivirus programs that run simultaneously. The functioning of multiple antivirus engines significantly increases protection, a professor of computer science and engineering in UM’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, told Newswise. The approach can also detect malware faster than traditional antivirus engines, which only works when it is running alone. Computers, cellular phones, and other mobile devices with simple software agent can use the CloudAV approach. Source:

42. August 7, Computerworld – (International; New Jersey) Former prosecutor: UFO hack looked like terrorist attack. After the computer network at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey was breached and crashed just a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, investigators thought it might be part of a larger al-Qaeda plot against the U.S. Investigators worked around the clock to figure out who had been in and out of the system that runs the weapons station for about five months, stealing passwords, installing remote access software, deleting data, and ultimately shutting down the network of 300 computers for an entire week. That weeklong shutdown meant that for that period of time – in the aftermath of attacks on the U.S. – the station could not replenish munitions and supplies to the Atlantic fleet. After throwing critical resources at the probe when the government was already investigating not only the 9/11 attacks but the anthrax killings, investigators did not track the breach to al-Qaeda. They tracked it to an unemployed system administrator in the U.K., who was subsequently charged with hacking into 92 computer systems at the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, and NASA. His last appeal against extradition to the U.S. has now been dismissed by a British court. Source:

Communications Sector

43. August 7, Ann Arbor News – (Michigan) Phone outages in Saline, Pittsfield Township could continue into Friday. Officials say phone interruptions in Saline and Pittsfield Township may not be resolved until Friday evening. A communications line break Thursday morning interrupted landline phones, dial-up Internet service, and rendered cell phone service spotty in western Pittsfield Township and Saline. The underground line, which construction crews damaged on Michigan Avenue west of State Street in Pittsfield Township, is used by several communications companies. It is unclear how many residents are affected. Depending on the service provider, cell phones may have unreliable service because some companies use that line to connect to the phone grid. Source:

44. August 6, United Press International – (New York; Vermont) Murder victim 911 call goes to wrong state. Police records indicate a cell phone call to 911 from a Vermont woman allegedly murdered by her son went astray and delayed police for more than 30 minutes. WPTZ-TV, Plattsburgh, New York, said Wednesday the woman’s call wound up being answered by dispatchers on the New York side of Lake Champlain and was not relayed to the Vermont State Police in Rutland for another half an hour. WPTZ said it was not unheard of for 911 calls placed in Vermont to be picked up in New York’s Washington County. Source: