Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Monday, September 22, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for September 22, 2008

Daily Report


 United Press International reports that a recently completed 16-year U.S. ground water study shows statistically significant increases in concentrations of nitrates in seven of 24 well networks. (See item 31)

31. September 18, United Press International – (National) Study shows nitrate up in U.S. groundwater. A recently completed 16-year U.S. ground water study shows statistically significant increases in concentrations of nitrates in seven of 24 well networks. Nitrate is the most common chemical contaminant in the world’s ground water, scientists said. Nitrate in drinking water of the United States is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because of health concerns related to infant health and possible cancer risks. “This study highlights the importance of maintaining long-term ground water monitoring programs in the nation, because sustained monitoring provides critical information on changes of our nation’s ground water quality, and whether pollution prevention programs are effective in protecting this nation’s ground water,” said a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Source:

 According to Reuters, a Government Accountability Office report says that the U.S. military began moving its Cold War command center from deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, without fully analyzing potential security threats posed by the relocation. (See item 35)

35. September 18, Reuters – (Colorado) Report faults U.S. move of Cheyenne command center. The U.S. military began moving its Cold War command center from deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, without fully analyzing potential security threats posed by the relocation, a report said on Thursday. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, said in the report that a legally mandated Defense Department report to lawmakers failed to include key threats involved in the move and understated other security issues. The threats in question were contained in a classified version of the GAO report. Military officials said the relocation, which began earlier this year, would better consolidate defense operations and allow commanders to respond more swiftly to crises or attacks. While the move is still under way, GAO said operations began at the new combined command center on May 29. The Pentagon initially told the GAO in comments dated June 3 that it did not concur with a report recommendation calling for a full-spectrum reevaluation of security vulnerabilities associated with the relocation. But the Defense Department reversed itself less than a month later and said the security review was being undertaken, according to GAO. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

14. September 19, Los Angeles Times – (National) 18 arrested in alleged $33-million Medicare fraud schemes. Federal and state investigators fanned out across the Southland early Thursday, arresting 18 people allegedly engaged in various schemes involving the fraudulent ordering of power wheelchairs, hospital beds, feeding kits, and specialized shoes for diabetics, in what federal prosecutors say was a series of schemes intended to bilk Medicare of more than $33 million. Medicare fraud has been on the rise nationally but is particularly prevalent in Los Angeles and Miami. Clinic owners and medical professionals were among those arrested, authorities said. The arrests were made by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a team of federal and state investigators that began operating in the Los Angeles area earlier this year. Since its inception last year, the strike force has indicted 175 people alleged to have billed Medicare for more than half a billion dollars. Source:,0,1896942.story

15. September 19, CNN Money – (National) SEC bans shorts for financials. The ruling comes after the SEC decided Wednesday to ban the practice of so-called “naked” short selling, in which investors short the stock without actually borrowing it. On Thursday, Britain’s Financial Services Authority also temporarily banning short-selling for financial companies. The SEC said it is consulting the FSA in the matter. Source:

16. September 19, CNN Money – (National) New bailout planned. The federal government, in what will be its most far-reaching attempt yet to contain the financial crisis, is poised to establish a program to let banks get rid of mortgage-related assets that have been hard to value and harder to trade. Many details of the plan remained unclear, but it is likely the government would take on tens of billions of dollars in mortgage assets - if not more. The announcement is the latest stunning turn in an extraordinary six days that have rocked Wall Street. Source:

Information Technology

39. September 18, eWeek – (Texas) Malware poses as iPhone game. Malware writers are spamming e-mails with a file posing as a popular iPhone video game, according to researchers at Sophos. In fact, the file contains a Trojan, which ironically only runs on Microsoft Windows. Still, Sophos said the Trojan can potentially allow a hacker to take over an infected PC. The Trojan, identified by Sophos as Troj/Agent-HNY, is being spread via e-mail as an attachment dubbed after the popular “Penguin Panic” game for the iPhone. Hoping to snare unsuspecting video game fans, the spam e-mails contain subject lines such as “Virtual iPhone games!” and “Apple: The most popular game!” “It’s your bog-standard malicious Trojan horse, designed to hand control of the compromised computer over to a third-party hacker,” said the senior technology consultant at Sophos. “That hacker can then take over the compromised PC to download further malware, or launch spam campaigns, install spyware to steal your identity or launch a distributed denial-of-service attack. Because so many Trojan horses these days download additional code from the Internet, hackers can change the ultimate payload at anytime they wish–they just update the file which the Trojan tries to download.” Source:

40. September 18, IDG News Service – (National) Web proxy firm working with FBI to trace Palin e-mail hacker. The Webmaster of a proxy service called, which may have been used by a hacker to illegally access the e-mail account of the Republican vice presidential candidate is working with law enforcement authorities to track down the person behind the break-in. The Webmaster of Ctunnel said Thursday that URLs in screenshots of the candidate’s e-mail suggested that whoever accessed her Yahoo! account had used his proxy service. He said in an interview that he was contacted by FBI officials last night and asked to retain computer logs of the last few days’ activity on his service and make sure nothing is deleted. He said he is reasonably confident he can help authorities sift through the logs and trace access back to the originating IP address -- especially because the self-professed hacker has admitted using just one proxy service to access the account. The alleged hacker said in an online posting that he gained access by simply resetting the password to the candidate’s Yahoo! e-mail account using its password recovery service. That’s according to a description of events posted on a blog site run by a conservative syndicated columnist. Source:

Communications Sector

41. September 19, Los Angeles Times – (California) Rate increase OKd for land-line phone service in California. The California Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to approve price increases beginning in January 2009 for the four major phone companies, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., that offer land-line service. Another increase can go into effect a year later. The PUC has deregulated most aspects of California phone services and was expected to deregulate it all next year. Instead, the commission opted to maintain a cap on local land-line rates for two more years. Source:,0,2484705.story