Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for March 10, 2009

Daily Report


 KPIX 5 San Francisco and Bay City News report that biochemical firm AnaSpec Inc. in San Jose, California was shut down on Friday by firefighters after fumes from a chemical leak sent two inspectors and a facility employee to the hospital. (See item 7)

7. March 6, KPIX 5 San Francisco and Bay City News – (California) Chemical leak in San Jose sends 3 to hospital. Biochemical firm AnaSpec Inc. was shut down on March 6 by San Jose firefighters after fumes from a chemical leak sent two inspectors and a facility employee to the hospital, a fire captain said. One of four inspectors decided to evacuate the buildings around 12:30 p.m., after he noticed a cabinet used to store hazardous and flammable chemicals was open and leaking palpable fumes, the fire captain said. Two inspectors at that time were feeling nauseous and complaining of respiratory problems. A little later, an employee started feeling sick. The three of them were decontaminated and sent to the hospital. They evacuated about 75 people from the two buildings by 12:45 p.m. Fire officials closed the operational facilities for four reasons that all pose threats to employees and anyone in or near the buildings, the fire captain said. He said the construction was done without proper permits, hazardous materials were above the threshold amount for the size of the facility, numerous mechanical structures such as the air ventilation system were not functioning properly, and the types and amounts of chemicals in the building were not documented properly. Source:

 According to the Denver Post, 35 people were treated for nausea, headaches, and respiratory problems after a chemical release at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado on Monday. Maintenance workers had somehow mixed hydrochloric acid and Clorox. (See item 26)

26. March 9, Denver Post – (Colorado) Firefighters respond to chemical release at Denver hospital campus. Firefighters responded to a chemical release at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver Monday morning. Maintenance workers somehow mixed hydrochloric acid and Clorox, releasing a vapor plume. National Jewish shares a campus with the K-8 Kunsberg School, which has a pool used for students as well as physical therapy. The school and two research buildings connected to it by tunnels were evacuated. Thirty-five people were “symptomatic” with nausea, headaches and respiratory problems; they were put in ambulances and taken to other hospitals. None of them are expected to have severe injuries. Seven hundred people in total were evacuated; some employees were sent home for the day. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

12. March 7, Bloomberg – (Georgia) Freedom Bank of Georgia seized, 17th U.S. failure this year. Freedom Bank of Georgia was seized by regulators, the 17th bank closed this year, as the recession persists and a jump in unemployment pushed more borrowers behind on home loan payments. Freedom Bank, in Commerce, Georgia, with $173 million in assets and $161 million in deposits, was shut by the state’s Department of Banking and Finance and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) was named receiver. Northeast Georgia Bank of Lavonia, Georgia, will assume deposits, the FDIC said. “Customers of both banks should continue to use their existing branches until Northeast Georgia Bank can fully integrate the deposit records of Freedom Bank of Georgia,” the FDIC said. Source:

13. March 6, Middletown Journal – (Ohio) Bank warns against phishing scam. LCNB National Bank is warning Lebanon, Ohio residents against a recent “phishing” scam involving text messages, e-mails and phone messages. Several residents have reported receiving a suspicious message on March 6 claiming to be from LCNB. The text message instructs the recipient to call a phone number or use a Web site link included in the message regarding unknown identification. It then asks for personal account information the president of the bank. The messages have been sent to customers as well as those who do not bank with LCNB. The bank is advising residents not to respond to the message as it is a scam. LCNB will never contact customers via phone, e-mail or text message asking for personal information. Source:

Information Technology

36. March 9, National Business Review – (International) Conficker worm turns meaner; disables antivirus software. Symantec warns a third variant of the Conficker virus is on the loose. It is the nastiest strain yet, by dint of a new ability to disable security software, and block attempts to track where it phones home on the Web. In a tactical switch, Conficker’s authors are sending the new strain to already-infected PCs, helping the worm burrow deeper and become more resistant to attempts to dig it out. In a security update, a representative of Symantec writes that the worm’s focus on holding-off antivirus software is part of a new strategy overall: “[It’s] authors are now aiming for increasing the longevity of the existing threat on infected machines. Instead of trying to infect further systems, they seem to be protecting currently infected machines from antivirus software and remediation.” The new mutation also regains the initiative on generating random domain names, or Web servers that infected machines phone home to. The previous version generated 250 random Web addresses per day, using an algorithm that was successfully reverse-engineered by Microsoft, and others. The new Conficker variant, using a new algorithm, generates 50,000 domains — making it, for the time being, impossible to track and reversing one of the security software companies’ few wins in the war on the worm. Symantec discovered the new variant of Conficker (also known as Downadup) on March 7 New Zealand time when the fresh mutation, officially called W.32Downadup.C, was attracted to a “honeypot,” a PC purposefully left exposed to Internet threats. Source:

37. March 9, CNET News – (International) Google Docs suffers privacy glitch. Google discovered a privacy glitch that inappropriately shared access to a small fraction of word-processing and presentation documents stored on the company’s online Google Docs service. “We have identified and fixed a bug which may have caused you to share some of your documents without your knowledge. This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document,” the company said in a note, quoted at TechCrunch, that the search giant sent to affected people. “The issue only occurred if you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents and presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions. This issue affected documents and presentations, but not spreadsheets.” Google said in a later statement that the problem affected only 0.05 percent of documents stored at the site and that affected Google Docs users had been notified. Though the documents were shared only with people whom the Google Docs users had already shared documents, rather than with the world at large, the problem illustrates one downside of cloud computing, in which Internet servers host software previously run on a person’s own computer. The flip side of a cloud-computing advantage, that a person can get access to those documents from any Internet-connected computer or smartphone, is that technical problems or hacking attempts also can expose private information. It should be noted, though, that housing data on a local machine has risks of its own. A lost or stolen laptop can reveal any number of secrets. Source:

Communications Sector

38. March 9, Los Angeles Times – (California) Thousands of Charter Communications customers temporarily lose service. A severed fiber-optic cable shut off Internet, telephone and some television service for thousands of Charter Communications Inc. subscribers in Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank for nearly five hours on March 8. It was not clear how the line was cut, said a spokeswoman, who identified the trouble spot only as a location in Pasadena. “We know it was not one of our crews,” she said. Customers were without phone, Internet and most television services from about noon to 4:30 p.m. Some TV channels were still available. Source:,0,4300021.story

39. March 8, Cellular-News – (International) Breakthrough for post-4G communications. With much of the mobile world yet to migrate to 3G mobile communications, let alone 4G, European researchers are already working on a new technology able to deliver data wirelessly up to 12.5Gb/s. The technology, known as ‘millimetre (mm)-wave’ or microwave photonics, has commercial applications not just in telecommunications (access and in-house networks) but also in instrumentation, radar, security, radio astronomy and other fields. Despite the quantum leap in performance made possible by combining the latest radio and optics technologies to produce mm-wave components, it will probably only be a few years before there are real benefits for the average EU citizen. This is thanks to research and development work being done by the EU-funded project IPHOBAC, which brings together partners from both academia and industry with the aim of developing a new class of components and systems for mm-wave applications. The mm-wave band is the extremely high frequency part of the radio spectrum, from 30 to 300 gigahertz (GHz), and it gets it name from having a wavelength of one to 10mm. Until now, the band has been largely undeveloped, so the new technology makes available for exploitation more of the scarce and much-in-demand spectrum. Source: