Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for January 29, 2009

Daily Report


 The San Francisco Chronicle reports that an oil tanker leaving the Port of San Francisco lost power on Tuesday just west of the Golden Gate Bridge and was escorted back into the bay for repairs, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. (See item 2)

2. January 27, San Francisco Chronicle – (California) Tanker loses power, escorted into bay for repairs. An oil tanker leaving the Port of San Francisco for Ecuador lost power January 27 just west of the Golden Gate Bridge and was escorted back into the bay for repairs, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. The 741-foot Overseas Cleliamar had unloaded all of its oil at the Port of San Francisco and was carrying no cargo when it lost power at shortly after 5 p.m. The ship did not hit anything, and no pollution was believed to have been released, said a Coast Guard petty officer. The ship lost propulsion just after passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. The San Francisco ship pilot directed the ship to drop anchor near Point Diablo on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. The 32-member crew was able to restore power after about ten minutes. The Coast Guard received the call of distress at 5:22 p.m. A Coast Guard cutter and tugboats escorted the ship back into the bay for repair, although the ship was moving under its own power. He said Coast Guard helicopters flew over the scene and saw no signs of spilled oil or other pollution. Source:

 According to the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team, on February 1, the International Cospas-Sarsat Organization (United States included) will terminate processing of distress signals emitted by 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters. Currently, only 12-15 percent of the registered aircraft in the United States are flying with 406 MHz ELTs. (See item 13)

13. January 26, Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team – (National) 406-MHz ELT requirement starts next month. On February 1, 2009, the International Cospas-Sarsat Organization (United States included) will terminate processing of distress signals emitted by 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). Pilots flying aircraft equipped with 121.5 MHz ELTs after that date will have to depend on pilots of over flying aircraft and or ground stations monitoring 121.5 to hear and report distress alert signals, transmitted from a possible crash site. Currently only 12-15 percent of the registered aircraft in the United States are flying with 406 MHz ELTs. This means that there is at least an 85 percent chance that an aircraft in an accident will only transmit a 121.5 MHz signal, thus remaining silent to the satellites. It will be up to other pilots monitoring the 121.5 MHz frequency in the cockpit to alert Search and Rescue authorities to accidents involving 121.5. If a 121.5 MHz ELT is heard on guard, pilots must report to the nearest air traffic control tower or Flight Service Station, the time and location of when you first detect the ELT, when it is the loudest, and when it drops off your radio. Cospas-Sarsat System has been and will continue processing emergency signals transmitted by 406 MHz ELTs. These 5 Watt digital beacons transmit a much stronger signal, are more accurate, verifiable and traceable to the registered beacon owner. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

7. January 27, CNN – (Florida) Investment fund manager facing fraud charges surrenders. A missing Florida fund manager, whose $300 million in investment funds are actually worth less than $1 million, according to a federal lawsuit, has turned himself in to face fraud charges, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on January 27. The 76-year-old suspect, “recently transferred at least $1.25 million from two of the funds to secret bank accounts that he controlled,” according to a filing last week in federal court by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The suit, filed January 21 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, charged the suspect with fraud “in connection with six hedge funds” in which he was principal investment adviser. Accompanied by two defense lawyers, the suspect turned himself in to the Tampa FBI field office and was taken into custody around 9:45 a.m. on January 27, a FBI spokesman said. Source:

8. January 28, – (New Hampshire) Service Credit Union advises members to avoid phone scam. Service Credit Union is warning that telephone scammers are attempting to obtain personal information from ATM/Visa Check cardholders. Area residents, members and nonmembers, are receiving computer-generated calls claiming to be from Service Credit Union. The call claims account information was breached and directs the cardholder to press 1 to give his or her debit card information to reactivate any cards. Personal information requested includes account number, card expiration date and personal identification number. Service Credit Union does not solicit personal information over the phone, and if residents receive questionable calls, they should not provide any personal information, said the chief executive of Service Credit Union. If residents receive a suspicious call, they should notify Service Credit Union by e-mail and call the local authorities. Source:

9. January 28, Bloomberg – (National) FDIC may run ‘bad bank’ in plan to purge toxic assets. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) may manage the so-called bad bank that the Presidential Administration is likely to set up as it tries to break the back of the credit crisis, two people familiar with the matter said. The FDIC chairman is pushing to run the operation, which would buy the toxic assets clogging banks’ balance sheets, one of the two people said. The chairman is arguing that her agency has expertise and could help finance the effort by issuing bonds guaranteed by the FDIC, a second person said. The President’s team may announce the outlines of its financial-rescue plan as early as next week, an administration official said. The bad-bank initiative may allow the government to rewrite some of the mortgages that underpin banks’ bad debt, in the hopes of stemming a crisis that has stripped more than 1.3 million Americans of their homes. Some lenders may be taken over by regulators and some management teams could be ousted as the government seeks to provide a shield to taxpayers. Source:

Information Technology

25. January 27, PC World – (International) Security firm sees alarming rise in ‘transient’ threats. Anti-virus firm AVG Technologies says an alarming rise in the number of virus-laden sites that are here today and gone tomorrow is causing security experts to re-think traditional virus protection strategies. AVG reports the number of Web sites set up to steal one’s data has nearly doubled from about 150,000 per day to 300,000 since October 2008. More alarming to AVG is the fact those sites are short lived and vanish sometimes within 24 hours. These “transient threats” make maintaining lists of dangerous Web sites extremely hard to manage, said the chief research officer for AVG. “Security firms can no longer rely on just blacklisting sites,” the chief research officer said. AVG, like many other anti-virus companies, keeps track of rogue sites and updates its desktop anti-virus software with that list. But as the churn of new threats increases at an alarming rate blacklist databases become increasingly less effective. Source:

26. January 27, – (International) Report: click fraud at record high. 17.1 percent of all clickthroughs on Web advertising are the result of clickfraud, the act of clicking on a Web ad to artificially increase its click-through rate, according to the latest report from Click Forensics, a company that specializes in monitoring and preventing Internet crime. The level of clickfraud is the highest the company has seen since it started monitoring for it in 2006, dashing hopes that it might hold steady in 2008. The company recorded a rate of 16.3 percent in the first fiscal quarter of 2008 (Q1). Also alarming is the fact that over 30 percent of click fraud is now coming from automated bots — a 14 percent increase from last quarter and the highest rate Click Forensics has seen since it started collecting data. Click fraud for ads on content networks like Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network was up to 28.2 percent from 27.1 percent last quarter, though that figure has decreased since Q4 2007, when it was at 28.3 percent. Outside of the United States, Click Forensics reports that the most click fraud came from Canada (which contributed 7.4 percent), Germany (3 percent), and China (2.3 percent). Click Forensics also notes that it has seen a reemergence with some old-hat tricks, like link farms. The company speculates that the increase may be tied to the poor economy, which has spurred a rise in activity like phishing and other cybercrime. Source:

Communications Sector

27. January 28, Heise Media – (International) Windows mobile Bluetooth vulnerability allows access to any files. A directory traversing vulnerability in the Bluetooth OBEX-FTP server of Windows Mobile 6 allows attackers to access files outside of the permitted list. According to the report, using “../” or “..\\” as part of the path name, is sufficient to traverse to other directories. An attacker could use the technique to copy files from a device, or to install their own software, such as a key logger, or other spyware. The issue does require that the targeted hand held device is paired with the attacking device, which is usually only possible with the owner’s consent. There are, though, situations where a user may wish to restrict access to their files for paired devices, and the problem means that these restrictions are only partially effective. The discoverer of the bug has published a detailed guide to the problem. Source:

28. January 28, Associated Press – (Arkansas; Kansas) Cox to test new way to handle Internet congestion. Cox Communications, the third-largest U.S. cable company, stepped on to the battleground of the “Net Neutrality” issue on January 27, saying it will be trying out a new way to keep its subscribers’ Internet traffic from jamming up. Starting on February 9 in parts of Kansas and Arkansas, Cox will give priority to Internet traffic it judges to be time-sensitive, like Web pages, streaming video, and online games. File downloads, software updates, and other non-time sensitive data may be slowed if there is congestion on the local network, Cox said. The news is sure to revive the debate about Net Neutrality, or the question of how much Internet service providers like Cox can interfere with subscriber traffic. Source:

29. January 26, CNET News – (National) Congressman wants to ban silent camera phones. Earlier in January, a U.S. Representative from New York introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ban camera phones from having a silent mode when taking a picture. The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act (H.R. 414) would “require any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken.” What is more, the bill would prohibit such handsets from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone. Enforcement would be through the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The text of the bill is short, and the Representative’s office has not released any public statements. At the time of this writing, the bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce. The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act has no co-sponsors. Source:

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