Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for April 29, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 The Associated Press reports that the nation’s busiest air traffic control facility in Southern California relies heavily on inexperienced trainees, who are expected to make up more than 40 percent of controllers there later this year, according to a Transportation Department inspector general report released Monday. (See item 15)

15. April 27, Associated Press – (California) California air traffic facilities rely on trainees. The nation’s busiest air traffic control facility in Southern California relies heavily on inexperienced trainees, who are expected to make up more than 40 percent of controllers there later this year, according to a report released Monday. The Transportation Department inspector general report expressed concern about air traffic controller staffing levels at the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility near San Diego, as well at the Northern California Terminal Radar Approach Facility near Sacramento. The two facilities handle planes approaching and leaving California airports. There are currently 76 trainee controllers — 32 percent of the work force — at the Southern California TRACON, the report said. But the Federal Aviation Administration plans to hire another 34 trainees later this year to make up for expected retirements, raising the share of controllers at the facility who are trainees to more than 40 percent. The report also said that overtime by controllers working in the tower at Los Angeles International Airport has increased more than 800 percent since 2006, and was up 120 percent at the Northern California TRACON. The report recommended that FAA “take immediate action” to address staffing and overtime concerns. Source:

 According to the Seattle Times, Seattle’s winter-storm strategy, which involved dumping nearly 12,400 tons of sand on iced-over streets last December, is causing new problems for the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, where unprecedented amounts of grit from city storm drains have plugged up pumps and triggered emergency repairs. (See item 22)

22. April 27, Seattle Times – (Washington) Latest storm headache: Seattle sand clogs sewer plant. Seattle’s failed winter-storm strategy, which involved dumping nearly 12,400 tons of sand on iced-over streets last December, is causing new problems for the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, where unprecedented amounts of grit from city storm drains have plugged up pumps and triggered emergency repairs. Plant operators called the situation “unprecedented” and attributed it to heavy rains that apparently flushed out pockets of sand and gravel still remaining on city streets four months after it was dropped. The volume of material became so heavy April 16 that it shut down a pump and forced the early shutdown of a basin that filters grit from wastewater before it is treated and released into Puget Sound. A spokesman for Seattle’s transportation department said in an e-mail that the city has swept up more than 11,300 tons of sand since January. That is more than 91 percent of the nearly 12,400 tons the city says it dropped in what proved to be a largely futile effort to make city streets passable. The city refused to use salt to clear the roads, citing concerns about its impact on chinook salmon habitat. That policy has since been changed. Transportation managers dispatched sweepers to clean up the sanding material after the storms passed. A spokeswoman for King County’s wastewater division said most of the sand was generated by the city’s snow-control efforts. But plant operators were hesitant to attribute an exact figure to the city. Instead they had only a general year-to-year comparison for grit removed at the plant: 2,800 tons in 2008 versus 300 tons in 2007. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

10. April 27, – (Florida) SEC charges hedge fund manager with a new fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging that a Florida-based hedge fund manager, who had already agreed to stop violating securities fraud provisions, was up to his old tricks. The SEC alleged that the defendant had shifted his strategy for his firm, Founding Partners Capital Management and that he was investing in riskier securities without telling investors. About $550 million in investments was involved the SEC claimed. Founding Partners, which is headquartered in Naples, Florida, invests in Sun Capital Inc. and Sun Capital Healthcare Inc., two related companies that provide loans to healthcare and other businesses guaranteed by accounts receivables. Starting in 2004, the SEC claimed, Founding Partners let the Sun Capital companies invest in healthcare companies that were financially troubled, without informing investors that it was taking on the more risky securities. The SEC also charged that the defendant used investor money improperly to pay personnel expenses. The defendant also told investors that the funds had audited financial statements for 2007, when they did not, the SEC complaint alleged. Source:

11. April 27, St. Paul Business Journal – (Idaho; Wyoming) U.S. Bancorp buys Idaho bank assets from FDIC. U.S. Bancorp on April 24 took over the deposits of a small Idaho bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, which is the second-largest bank in the Milwaukee area, acquired $225 million in deposits of the First Bank of Idaho and branches that operate under the name First Bank of the Tetons. The deal includes seven branch banks in Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue, Driggs and Victor, Idaho and in Jackson, Wyoming. The First Bank of Idaho, which has about 115 employees, had faced a capital shortage and received a cease-and-desist order April 15 from the Office of Thrift Supervision, a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that oversees federal savings associations, according to media reports. The branches involved in the April 24 acquisition will all be re-branded as U.S. Bank in the near future, according to a press release from U.S. Bank. Prior to the acquisition, U.S. Bank had 90 branch offices in Idaho and 14 in Wyoming. U.S. Bank did not acquire any brokered deposits of the bank or assets or liabilities of the First Bank of Idaho’s parent holding company, Sun Valley Bancorp., based in Ketchum, Idaho. Source:

Information Technology

30. April 28, Spamfighter News – (Massachusetts) Teenaged hacker decreed for 11 months. A teen computer hacker who controlled several systems in botnet attacks has to face an imprisonment of 11 months in an adolescent prison. The 17 year old from Worcester, Massachusetts, referred to N.H. in court records or by his online name Dshocker, beseeched guilty of system fraud, four cases of wire cheating, and interstate threats during November 2008. N.H. also obtained stolen credit card numbers and purchased goods and services from them both for himself as well as for others. He assisted several carders purchase goods from these stolen cards teaching an associate who worked for a big shipping firm to redirect the packages of goods either to himself or to other carders. While announcing his punishment in the second week of April 2009, he was also granted two years probation period. Federal prosecutors informed that from November 2005 to May 2008, the accused also hacked the commercial computer systems to steal details and spread bogus bomb threats. As per the U.S. Attorney Office, the teenager issued orders to a control server commanding a network of thousands of systems to assail the target system, collapsing it or turning it slow, refuting services of that computer to the users. That is called “distributed denial of service attack.” The accused also confessed to obtaining unauthentic access to several systems repeatedly, which includes Road Runner, Comcast and Charter Communications, and robbed customer data. He also gained unauthentic access to the proprietary software and firmware of a company to amend cable modems, enabling him and others free web access. Source:

31. April 27, PC Magazine – (International) Swine flu scam sites may evolve into malware. Opportunistic people are registering domain names related to “swine flu.” F-Secure has a list of them and a warning. They say that none of them are pushing malware yet, although based on history it is only a matter of time. One of them does try to scam people. The site is selling a report, for $19.95 on how to deal with swine flu, including which Chinese herbs one should buy for it. Source:,2817,2345974,00.asp

32. April 27, CNET News – (International) McAfee launches free online cybercrime help center. Instead of worrying if a computer is infected with a virus, a user can now go to a new Web site McAfee is launching on April 28 that is designed to help computer users figure out if they have legitimate reason to be concerned. The new Cybercrime Response Unit offers a forensic scanning tool that checks for malware on the computer and cookies left by suspicious Web sites to help determine if the machine has been compromised. A toll-free number is available for people whose scan results are worrisome. If visitors feel they may have been victimized by cybercrime, they can click through to a page that contains a series of questions that will be used to determine the level of risk. They are asked whether there are unexplained charges or suspicious activity on any financial accounts or other indications of identity fraud and whether the computer is running more slowly than usual, displaying pop ads, or having difficulty shutting down or starting up. There are also questions about user behavior, including whether the visitor responded to an e-mail or Web site request for personal information that may have been a scam, whether an e-mail attachment was opened that could have been malicious, and whether the computer was lost or stolen. The visitor is then prompted to run the McAfee Cybercrime Scanner. However, the tool does not run on Firefox. The scanner looks for unwanted processes or unauthorized programs running on the computer, visits to known malicious Web sites, unauthorized connections to the computer, unauthorized modifications to the computer protections, security sessions or browser and other unauthorized activity. Source:

Communications Sector

33. April 28, Dayton Daily News – (Ohio) Dispatch center to handle emergency calls in May. Emergency 911 calls will again be handled out of the new Regional Dispatch Center sometime in May after problems with a Nortel switch are resolved and equipment has been tested, the Montgomery County sheriff said. On April 27, the Emergency Communication Policy Committee, which oversees the center, was briefed on what went wrong March 26 when several 911 calls about a Harrison Township house fire were not received at the center on the first day of operations. Currently, 911 calls are being handled at the sheriff’s dispatch center in Dayton, while the new dispatch center is handling calls to member jurisdiction’s regular police and fire lines. The sheriffs captain blamed AT&T for improperly programming the switch. A full report from AT&T is due May 1 or May 4. The report and AT&T’s testing will be reviewed by a consultant hired by the county. Source:

34. April 28, Associated Press – (New Jersey; New York) Cablevision has fastest Internet speeds for cable. Cablevision Systems Corp. is set to unveil April 28 the fastest Internet speeds available from any cable or phone company. Starting May 11, the Bethpage, New York-based cable operator will offer speeds of up to 101 megabits per second downstream throughout its service area, and 15 Mbps upstream. Cablevision has three million subscribers in the New York metro area. The company also plans to double the downstream speed of its Wi-Fi Internet service up to 3 Mbps for free. Cablevision offers wireless Internet at several Wi-Fi hotspots in New York’s Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester service areas, and in parts of New Jersey. Source:

35. April 27, KSWO 7 Lawton – (Oklahoma) Comanche County upgrades the 911 system. Comanche County, Oklahoma has upgraded to an enhanced 911 system that was originally approved by voters in December 2005. The system helps locate people who make 911 calls from cell phones. Taxpayers had to pay 50 cents extra each month on their cell phone bills to pay for the upgrades. Cell phone companies had to upgrade their towers to provide emergency dispatchers with the technical information they needed for their computers to pinpoint those callers. So far Sprint and Nextel are the only two companies that have completed their tower upgrades. Other cell phone providers in the area are still in the process of updating their systems and towers. Officials said all the systems and upgrades will be done by the end of April. Source: