Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 15, 2008

Daily Report


 According to the Associated Press, Indspec Chemical Corp. in Petrolia, Pennsylvania, halted production of the chemical compound resorcinol after a weekend chemical leak that forced hundreds to evacuate their homes. (See item 3)

3. October 14, Associated Press – (Pennsylvania) Pa. plant halts chemical production after leak. A western Pennsylvania plant that had a weekend chemical leak that forced hundreds to evacuate their homes is not producing a compound used by the rubber and tire industry. Indspec Chemical Corp. in Petrolia, a town about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, began operating at full capacity on Monday, with workers filling all regular shifts. But the plant manager says the plant has halted production of the chemical compound resorcinol until the cause of Saturday’s leak is determined. Indspec, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp., is the only plant in North America to produce the compound. Late Saturday, about 2,500 people were told to leave the area after oleum – a material similar to sulfuric acid – leaked, forming a mile-long cloud over Petrolia. Source:

 USA Today reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration failed for years to track security passes and uniforms of former employees, creating widespread vulnerability to terrorists, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general. (See item 12)

12. October 13, USA Today – (National) Report slams TSA failure to track security passes. The agency overseeing security at the nation’s airports failed for years to track security passes and uniforms of former employees, creating widespread vulnerability to terrorists, says a government watchdog report obtained by USA Today. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lacked centralized controls over the secure passes issued to some of its employees, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general. The passes grant people access to the most sensitive areas of an airport, such as where baggage is screened or planes are parked. Investigators found numerous cases in which former employees retained their passes long after they had left the agency. The investigation also found that TSA uniforms were frequently not collected when employees left or were transferred. People using improper badges, IDs, or uniforms – particularly in combination – “could significantly increase an airport’s vulnerability to unauthorized access and, potentially, a wide variety of terrorist and criminal acts,” the report said. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

7. October 14, Reuters – (National) U.S. to pump $250 billion into banks. The U.S. will pump $250 billion into its banks on Tuesday, following similar measures in Europe, but data showed the threat of recession has not been banished even if a financial sector meltdown has. Under the Treasury plan, about half the total funds is likely to go to the top nine U.S. banks to get them lending to each other again, people familiar with the scheme said. The Treasury will buy stakes in Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., said two sources speaking anonymously. Media reports said State Street Corp. and Merrill Lynch would also receive a capital injection. Source:

8. October 14, Bend Bulletin – (Oregon) Scam targets Bend bank customers. Bank of the Cascades customers were targeted last week by scammers seeking account information, but the scam was quickly shut down, the bank CEO said Monday. The bank now works with the Federal Trade Commission to combat the scams within minutes after learning of them by shutting down associated phone numbers. Scammers typically send out deceptive e-mails, text messages, and automated phone calls reporting suspicious account activity to customers, who are then directed to call a phone number and leave account information. Source:

9. October 13, Big Mouth Media – (International) Bank turmoil fuels phishing boom. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued a warning saying phishing gangs were using the current global financial crisis to extract valuable information from consumers. The news comes as a U.K. banking group reveals that phishing attacks were up more 180 percent in a year. Secure Computing said its October spam report showed that many of the banks and other financial institutions caught up in the turmoil were topping its list of phishing targets. Chase, Wachovia, and Bank of America were among the most popular targets for scammers. The firm said that it expected British banks to also prove popular in the coming weeks as changes and mergers are completed. Source:

Information Technology

35. October 13, IDG News Service – (International) ‘Experimental’ security fix is malware, Microsoft says. Scammers are sending out phony e-mails that claim to include critical Windows security alerts, Microsoft warned Monday. The fake alerts describe themselves as part of a new “experimental private version of an update for all Microsoft Windows OS users,” Microsoft said in a note on the scam, posted October 13. The e-mails then instruct the victim to download an attachment, which is actually a malicious Trojan Horse program known as Win32/Haxdoor. This software records sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers and sends this data back to the attackers who are running the scam. The malware is well-known, however, and is detected by antivirus programs as well as Microsoft’s free Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool. The warning comes the day before Microsoft is set to deliver 11 genuine security fixes. These updates, due October 14, include critical security updates for Windows Active Directory, Internet Explorer, Excel, and the Microsoft Host Integration Server. But they will be delivered via Microsoft’s standard automated update tools. Major software vendors such as Microsoft simply do not distribute security patches via email. “As a matter of company policy, Microsoft will never send you an executable attachment,” wrote Microsoft’s spokesman in a blog posting on the scam. “If you get an e-mail that claims to be a security notification with an attachment, delete it. It is always a spoof.” Microsoft does, however, send out security notification emails to customers who have asked to be told whenever patches are released or updated. These emails are in plain text and never contain any sort of attachment, the spokesman said. Users who have doubts about any security notification email they have received can go to Microsoft’s TechNet security Web site, which contains the same information as its e-mail notifications. Source:

Communications Sector

Nothing to report