Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Complete DHS Daily Report for December 11, 2008

Daily Report


 The Associated Press reports that analysts see a worrying trend in airport incursions. The editor of Aviation Security International said there was an “increasing trend for demonstrators to shut down airports.” (See item 10)

10. December 9, Associated Press – (International) Analysts see worrying trend in airport incursions. Protesters stormed the tarmac at one of Britain’s busiest airports, shut down two airports in Thailand, and invaded a runway in Athens — and some experts see a worrisome pattern. In the post 9/11 era, protests at sensitive international airports have become an effective way to rattle nerves and publicize causes. The editor of Aviation Security International said there was an “increasing trend for demonstrators to shut down airports.” Environmental action group Plane Stupid targeted Stansted Airport, northeast of London, in the most recent protest, cutting through its perimeter fence Monday and briefly knocking out Britain’s third-busiest airport. Police said Tuesday they had charged 49 people with aggravated trespass. Last month, a massive group of Thai anti-government protesters invaded Bangkok’s two main airports, leaving more than 300,000 travelers stranded and paralyzed the nation’s tourism industry. It was too early to tell whether the Thai protest would inspire others elsewhere, but, in Britain at least, activists vowed to keep up the pressure on the country’s airports. Protests undermine safety by distracting security workers from the more serious threat of terrorism and by forcing airlines to pour more money into perimeter defense, said one analyst. Tarmac incursions are particularly difficult to police because airports have huge surface areas. “The amount of time and money you would have to put into perimeter security is enormous,” an expert said. “Some airports are spending 40 percent of their entire budget on security, and that number is going to go up.” The additional cost would “undoubtedly” be paid for by the traveling public, he said. Source:

 According to USA Today, a report released Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health says that the economic crisis is jeopardizing the nation’s ability to handle public-health emergencies and possible bioterrorist attacks. (See item 21)

21. December 10, USA Today – (National) Economy puts emergency readiness in peril. The economic crisis is jeopardizing the nation’s ability to handle public-health emergencies and possible bioterrorist attacks, according to government leaders and a new report. Federal and state governments are cutting programs that help communities respond to disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism incidents, and that “could lead to a disaster for the nation’s disaster preparedness,” a report released Tuesday warns. “The economic crisis could result in a serious rollback of the progress we’ve made since Sept. 11, 2001,” said the executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a non-partisan research group. Federal funds are down, 11 states have already cut public-health budgets, and more could follow as the economic crisis worsens. If emergency medical supplies are not maintained or if hospitals can not handle a huge influx of patients, the result will be more deaths and illnesses, he said. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

7. December 10, AXcess News – (National) Companies open to “Zombie attacks” following mass layoffs. In a press announcement Monday, Framingham, Massachusetts-based identity management solutions provider Courion said that “the financial services sector over the last few months has created a ticking time bomb in the industry, putting confidential consumer or corporate information at risk thanks to massive layoffs in the industry.” Courion said there were potentially ‘millions of zombie accounts’ which could be accessed by disgruntled ex-employees if not addressed immediately. The firm explained that employees can accumulate an average of 15 to 20 user accounts over the course of employment and it typically takes an enterprise three to five minutes to manually turn off each account upon termination. Organizations faced with having to terminate hundreds of thousands, or even millions of accounts, may think that simply terminating an employee’s network access is sufficient protection. “Laid-off employees can easily exploit the lag time between being laid off and having all of their accounts closed to access sensitive company information. Even worse, usernames and passwords pertaining to zombie accounts could be shared or even sold to the highest bidder, giving cyber-criminals access to sensitive information without the need for sophisticated hacking techniques.” Source:

8. December 10, St. Paul Star Tribune – (Minnesota) Bogus text messages warn of US Bank accounts being closed. An untold number of cell phone users are receiving unsolicited text messages saying that their US Bank account has been closed because of “unusual activity,” in what the Minneapolis-based financial institution said today is a “phishing” scam to try and steal vital personal information.” One of the bogus text messages reads: “Dear US Bank member, your account with us is closed due to unusual activity, call us at 13365100853.” Another says: “You need to verify your US Bank acct (unusual activity), call at 8664330632.” Source:

Information Technology

23. December 10, IDG News Service – (International) Another Microsoft bug revealed on huge patch day. Along with its biggest patch release in five years, Microsoft warned on December 9 of another potentially dangerous vulnerability in its software. The problem lies within the WordPad Text Converter for Word 97 files, Microsoft said in an advisory. The systems affected include Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Microsoft said. XP Service Pack 3 and the Vista operating systems are not affected. The company said it has seen limited, targeted attacks. If exploited, a hacker could gain the same rights on a PC as a local user and could remotely execute code. Microsoft is investigating the problem. Source:

24. December 8, Tech Herald – (International) Firefox 2.0 loses anti-Phishing protection in final release. In the final release of Firefox 2, version, Mozilla has confirmed that there will be no anti-Phishing protection, as this feature will be removed. The removal is due in part to a request from Google, which asked that the feature be disabled, as the company will no longer support the older version of the SafeBrowsing protocol. The 2.0 branch of Mozilla’s browser will see one last security update and the end of support on December 16, according to present plans. The planned removal of SafeBrowsing 1.x from Firefox 2.0 is nothing sinister, and only enforces the end of life for the browser. Users who have not moved to Firefox 3.0 by the time is released will see a notice that SafeBrowsing has been removed. Versions and earlier still support the Phishing filter. Source:

Communications Sector

Nothing to report