Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 14, 2008

Daily Report


 According to Bloomberg, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a new report that higher temperatures and rainfall caused by global warming may spawn the spread of 12 deadly diseases into new regions, raising the danger to humans and animals. (See item 27)

27. October 8, Bloomberg – (International) Deadly dozendiseases spread by warmer weather, report says. Higher temperatures and rainfall caused by global warming may spawn the spread of 12 deadly diseases into new regions, raising the danger to humans and animals, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a new report. The deadly dozenthat may spread as a result of climate-induced changes include avian flu, tick-borne infestations, the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus, sleeping sickness, and red-tide algae blooms that create toxins potentially fatal to humans and wildlife, the report said. Pathogens that affect wildlife already have destabilized trade and caused financial damage, including an estimated $100 billion in losses to the global economy, said the report released Wednesday at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature meeting in Barcelona. Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=asbCNSO6VSW0&refer=africa

 Gannett Tennessee and the Associated Press report that fires and threatening e-mails that warned of “large-scale devastation” prompted Middle Tennessee State University to suspend classes on Thursday. Authorities arrested a 19-year-old freshman they believe is responsible. (See item 29)

29. October 10, Gannett Tennessee and Associated Press – (Tennessee) Freshman arrested in threats at MTSU. Fires and threatening e-mails, which warned of “large-scale devastation,” prompted Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) to suspend classes on Thursday. Authorities arrested a 19-year-old freshman they believe is responsible. The freshman will face terrorism and arson charges and is reportedly cooperating with authorities. His arrest followed a day of intensified police presence on campus and the cancellation of classes for the rest of the week. Officials decided not to evacuate campus Thursday before the suspect’s arrest, though police presence was intensified and signs were posted at residence halls notifying students not to admit anyone they did not know. The FBI issued a no-fly zone over the campus while law enforcement tactical teams swept the area for a suspect or witnesses. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Murfreesboro Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, Rutherford County Emergency Management, and MTSU Campus Police were involved in the investigation. Source: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081010/NEWS03/810100422/1017/NEWS01


Banking and Finance Sector

10. October 10, Reuters – (International) Plunging stocks pile pressure on G7 policy makers. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven nations meet in Washington against a backdrop of plunging shares after bank bailouts, liquidity injections, and coordinated interest rate cuts failed to get funds flowing again. In a bid to unfreeze bank lending, the U.S. government is weighing guaranteeing billions of dollars in bank debt and temporarily insuring all U.S. bank deposits, the Wall Street Journal reported. The ministers and bankers face intense pressure to coordinate a response to restore faith in the financial system. That partial nationalization of American banks would represent an enlarged role for the U.S. government as the lender and investor of last resort. U.S. policy had focused on a plan to buy banks’ distressed assets. Many analysts say a move to shore up banks’ capital would be a more direct way to break a logjam in credit markets that has shut down new borrowing for consumers and businesses. Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE4987NC20081010?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=10338

11. October 9, Reuters – (National) Citi ends talks with Wells Fargo on Wachovia. Citigroup abandoned its brief but acrimonious battle with Wells Fargo & Co. over Wachovia Corp., one of the United States’ largest banks, losing out on a deal crucial to strengthening its retail banking business but vowing to pursue up to $60 billion in legal claims. Citing dramatic differences in transaction structures and views of risks, Citigroup said on Thursday that a deal was “impossible.” But the bank said it remained willing to buy Wachovia under terms of its original deal. Wells Fargo praised Citigroup’s move and said it would aim to close the deal in the fourth quarter. Source:


12. October 9, Cnet News – (National) High-tech bank robbers phone it in. An ordinary bank robber can now steal hundreds of account numbers from ATMs without lifting a finger. Instead, he skims. Two risks these high-tech criminals face are being caught fitting a faux cover over an ordinary ATM card slot and keypad, then later retrieving the skimmers in order to get the account information. For about $8,000, skimmers can have their own ATM overlay capable of transmitting 1,856 cards via SMS. Bulk pricing is available. And if they do not want the information sent card by card, they can dial into the device and download the data at their convenience. Industry standardization of ATM readers makes it easier for criminals to copy, so a bank robber needs only to match the look and style. Once the account information is captured, the criminals tend to burn it onto blank magnetic stripe cards (ISO standard 7810), then use it at ATMs worldwide. Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10789_3-10062529-57.html

13. October 9, SC Magazine – (National) Prices for stolen information plummet. In an investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald, it was found that almost anyone on the Internet can buy stolen payment card details for as little as $1.50 (for Australian details), and $2.50 American and English cardholder information. For credit card accounts in Britain and the U.S., the cybercriminal salesmen claim to be able to bypass some of the latest anti-fraud protection, including Verified by Visa. The hackers also offer a surprising level of detail about their victims, such as a customer’s bank account number, mother’s maiden name, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, as well as answers to security questions. Source: http://www.scmagazineus.com/Prices-for-stolen-information-plummet/article/119263/

Information Technology

35. October 9, SC Magazine – (International) 10,000 LinkedIn users targeted in spear phishing attack. Ten thousand users of LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals, were recently targeted in a “spear phishing” email scam trying to lure them into downloading a malicious software attachment. In a blog post Wednesday, a reporter with the Washington Post, who first reported the story, said recipients of the email were addressed by name, aiding in the authenticity of the email. The message was sent from the domain “support[at]linkedin[dot]com” with a subject line of “Re: business contact.” The email read: “We managed to export the list of business contacts you have asked for.” The message then directed the recipient to open an attachment that was supposedly a list of business contacts that the user requested. In reality, it loaded malicious software to steal data such as usernames and passwords from the victim’s computer. The director of security research and communications for McAfee Avert Labs recommended that if users receive the phishing scam, they should monitor their bank and credit statements because it means that someone already has some information about them. A spokeswoman for LinkedIn said Thursday that the emails were not sent by LinkedIn. Source: http://www.scmagazineus.com/10000-LinkedIn-users-targeted-in-spear-phishing-attack/article/119268/

36. October 9, SC Magazine – (International) Microsoft set to deliver 11 patches next week. Microsoft said October 9 it plans to release 11 patches next week, including four to address “critical” vulnerabilities that could be remotely exploited to execute malicious code. The critical fixes address flaws in Windows, Internet Explorer, Host Integration Server and Excel, according to Microsoft’s advance notification document. Six bulletins are labeled “important” and affect issues in Windows. Microsoft also has scheduled one “moderate” patch to fix bugs in Office. The security update matches the number of fixes in August. September saw only four patches. Along with the patches, next week Microsoft plans to release its monthly updated version of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. This month also marks the unveiling of two initiatives aimed at helping end-users patch more effectively: the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) and the Exploitability Index. Each vulnerability will be placed into one of the three categories, depending on whether “consistent” exploit code is likely, whether inconsistent” exploit code is likely or whether exploit code is unlikely. Source: http://www.scmagazineus.com/Microsoft-set-to-deliver-11-patches-next-week/article/119267/

Communications Sector

37. October 10, WNEP 16 Moosic – (Pennsylvania) Copper thieves cut down phone lines. 300 Verizon customers in the Gouldsboro area lost telephone service late Wednesday night. State police said thieves stole 900 feet of telephone cable in the woods along Route 435 in Lackawanna County. Police also said they believe more that one person was involved. Verizon hoped to get phone service back sometime Friday. Source: http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=9157179

38. October 9, Minneapolis Star Tribune – (Minnesota) Lawsuit against Monticello’s fiber-optic network dismissed. A lawsuit against the city of Monticello contesting its plans to create a high-speed fiber-optic network has been dismissed. The suit had been filed by Bridgewater Telephone Co., also known as TDS Telecom, one of the leading telecommunications companies in the country. The company and the city have been arguing for more than a year over TDS building a fiber-optic ring or upgrading its existing system to provide high-speed access to residents, businesses, and city offices and agencies. When the company hesitated, the city moved to create its own system, which should be completed next year and would compete with the company. The city conducted a referendum in which about 75 percent of those voting approved spending $25 million in revenue bonds to create the city-owned system. The company now is upgrading its system but also filed suit contending that Monticello was illegally using the revenue bonds to finance its project. Source: http://www.startribune.com/local/west/30725629.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUoaK7D_V_eDc87DUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU