Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Friday, May 8, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for May 8, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 According to the Terre Haute Tribune Star, a spokesman for the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. said investigative teams were at the site in Parke County, Indiana where one of their gas lines ruptured on May 5. The explosion sent flames as high as 700 feet into the air, officials said. (See item 4)

4. May 6, Terre Haute Tribune Star – (Indiana) Pipeline teams investigate explosion. Steady rains Wednesday made for slow work investigating a Parke County gas explosion which occurred Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. said investigative teams were at the site near Parke County’s Nyesville Road Wednesday morning where one of their gas lines ruptured about 4:30 p.m. the day before. The explosion sent flames as high as 700 feet into the air, officials said. He said no cause has been established for the explosion yet. Investigators from Houston will remain until work is complete, but Wednesday’s rains impeded progress. The teams will check debris and conduct metallurgical tests on the pipe as they piece together a cause, he said. He said the company does not yet know how much gas was consumed in the accident, nor have damages been calculated yet. Panhandle Eastern has other pipelines in the vicinity and was able to continue operations throughout the fire. There was no interruption of service. ‘We were able to keep the customers supplied through the other pipelines,’ he said, explaining that the company services ‘the big users of natural gas’ such as power plants and distributors, not residential customers. A stream ran through the affected area, and an environmental impact study is being conducted, he said, noting that no evidence of contamination had been found yet. According to a media release issued by the Parke County Sheriff, more than 28 state and local agencies provided emergency responders for the incident, which produced flames visible for more than 15 miles. Source: See also:

 The Register reports that a disk bought on eBay contained details of test launch routines for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ground to air missile defense system, according to a study sponsored by BT and Sims Lifecycle Services. The same disk also held information belonging to the system’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, including blueprints of facilities and personal data on workers. (See item 8)

8. May 7, The Register – (National) Missile data, medical records found on discarded hard disks. A third (34 percent) of discarded hard disk drives still contain confidential data, according to a new study which unearthed copies of hospital records and sensitive military information on eBayed kit. The study was sponsored by BT and Sims Lifecycle Services and run by the computer science labs at University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the United States. A disk bought on eBay contained details of test launch routines for the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) ground to air missile defense system. The same disk also held information belonging to the system’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, including blueprints of facilities and personal data on workers, including social security numbers. Lockheed Martin denies that the disk came from it. The arm manufacturer has launched an investigation that aims to uncover just how the sensitive data might have been wound up on the disk. ‘If military secrets are thrown away then anything can be,’ a spokesman of Sims Recycling Solutions, which provide secure data destruction services, said. ‘Organizations spend millions on data security products such as firewalls to protect data but fail to think about discarded data.’ Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

13. May 6, Associated Press – (National) Senate votes to ease mortgage terms. Trying to curb home foreclosures, the Senate voted on May 6 to make it easier for homeowners with risky credit to switch to a lower-cost mortgage backed by the government. The bill, passed 91-5, also would give banks a break by encouraging reduced fees they must pay for the government to insure deposits. While both steps put taxpayer money on the line, lawmakers say the legislation is needed to prevent the economy from getting worse. ‘Given the size and scope of the struggles too many Nevadans and Americans endure, it will take more time before housing normalizes again,’ said the Senate Majority Leader. ‘But with this bill, we are working to hasten that day so that no family will ever accept losing its home as the way it is.’ Source:

14. May 6, RealEstateRama – (National) Senate passes bill to shore up FDIC. Following several days of debate, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that will help community banks by extending a higher Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) limit, according to a U.S. Senator. ‘Community banks in Wyoming are very strong and have loaned money responsibly. This bill will help Wyoming’s banks remain strong and loan more money with the higher FDIC insurance rate,’ the senator said. The bill extends the FDIC’s deposit insurance limit of $250,000 for the next four years. Previously, the insurance limit was $100,000. The bill will now go to a conference committee where differences between the Senate and House versions will be worked out. Source:

15. May 6, Las Vegas Review-Journal – (Nevada) Nevada credit unions face losses. The federal seizure of two corporate credit unions is causing some state credit unions to charge off millions of dollars in investments. Also, federally insured credit unions are taking a financial hit due to new assessments for federal deposit insurance, because the government wants to increase deposit insurance funds in the wake of the corporate credit unions failures. In March, the National Credit Union Administration, a federal agency, established conservatorships for Western Corporate Federal Union of San Dimas, California, and U.S. Central Credit Union of Lenexa, Kansas. The federal seizures resulted from the write-down of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities held by the corporate credit unions. NCUA on May 1 estimated that credit losses at WesCorp ranged between $3 billion and $7.9 billion. U.S. Central Credit’s losses are between $600,000 and $6.5 billion, according to the federal agency. The charge-off of WesCorp capital will hurt Nevada credit unions ‘to varying degrees,’ said the commissioner of the Financial Institutions Division. ‘It is going to weaken some more than others but not to the degree that we are alarmed. We are concerned but not alarmed,’ the commissioner said. The commissioner noted that the charge-offs are coming in the midst of a recession that has caused an increasing number of problem loans at financial institutions. Source:

16. May 5, Bloomberg – (National) U.S. banks must raise debt without FDIC guarantee to exit TARP. The Treasury will tell U.S. banks that have received taxpayer funds that they must raise debt without a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantee as a condition for repaying the government, people familiar with the matter said. The Treasury will unveil conditions for repaying the Troubled Asset Relief Program money as soon as on May 6, the people said on condition of anonymity. Source:

Information Technology

40. May 6, eWeek – (International) New Mac malware too buggy to build botnet, Sophos says. Security researchers at multiple vendors have reported finding a new piece of malware targeting Macs. The good news for Mac users, it is not quite up to snuff, according to Sophos. Dubbed Tored, the malware is actually a worm that installs a backdoor on infected systems and attempts to steal e-mail addresses from infected Mac computers. The goal, written right into the worm’s RealBasic source code, is to create the ‘First Mac OS X Botnet.’ In addition to stealing e-mail addresses, the malware also records some keystrokes and attempts to copy itself to removable disk. However, according to Sophos, bugs in the worm’s code make it unlikely to spread. According to Sophos, the worm tries to forward itself through e-mail using a SMTP server that is inactive. In addition, the command and control server it contacts to receive instructions does not exist. The worm represents a break from tradition for the limited amount of Mac malware out there, as it is ‘e-mail-aware,’ as opposed to the Mac Trojans sometimes posted on Websites or peer-to-peer networks.’ A lot of Mac fans think that for something to be a worm then it requires no user interaction to spread,’ said a senior technology consultant at Sophos. ‘Although there are some Windows worms like that (for instance, Sasser and Code Red), many of the pieces of malware that we consider to be worms (for instance, The Love Bug, Anna Kournikova, etc.) did require user interaction and spread quite successfully.’ Source:

41. May 6, BetaNews – (International) First Windows 7 RC patch turns off ‘hang time’ correction in IE8. Perhaps Google Chrome’s most innovative architectural feature is the way it relegates Web page tabs to individual processes, so that a crash takes down just the tab and not the whole browser. In addressing the need for a similar feature without overhauling their entire browser infrastructure, the engineers of Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 added a simple timeout mechanism that gives users a way to close a tab that appears unresponsive. As it turns out, there are quite a few legitimate reasons why a Web page might appear unresponsive although it is really doing its job. One of them concerns debugging with Visual Studio, as this user of discovered. When a tab goes dead in IE8, not only is a message sent to the user giving the user a way to dismiss either the tab or the message, but another message is sent to Microsoft as well, and that is one of its indicators of how well IE8 is performing. In a blog post on May 4, IE8 engineers reported an uptick in the number of hung tab reports it received from users of the Windows 7 Release Candidate, one day before the general public got its turn. ‘Based on the initial, Microsoft-internal, data after putting this in the product, we thought the experience was unobtrusive and overall better for users because it provides more information to improve the product,’ the team wrote. ‘As more data has started to come in from external Win7 users, we have seen an increase in reports. We are watching the data very closely to understand how well this works for the larger set of users. If we see data that makes us think this is not a good experience, then we will release an update to address it.’ Source:

Communications Sector

42. May 6, – (Pennsylvania) Cell tower in the heart of the Morrisville? T-Mobile proposed 100-foot three sided-cell tower with a clock on top has been proposed for the parking lot at the Morrisville Shopping Center, located at East Trenton and Pennsylvania avenues, in Morrisville Borough. The three-sided clock would conceal nine antennae. The tower would be situated near the East Trenton Avenue entrance to the shopping center. T-Mobile Northeast LLC and a Morrisville attorney are co-applicants. Stockham owns the shopping center. They are seeking three variances to the Morrisville Borough Code. The Morrisville Borough Zoning Board held a hearing May 5 about the proposed project and the request for variances. According to board members, cell towers are not a permitted use in this commercial zone. Also, the project would take away eight or nine spaces from the existing shopping center, which already does not meet the parking requirements. And the height is higher than what is allowed. The zoning law allows structures in this area to be a maximum of 40 feet high. A handful of residents and council members attended the hearing. Some in attendance said they do not like the idea of a tower at the proposed location. A spokesman said if the cell tower is erected, people calling 9-1-1- from their vehicles could be located by the dispatcher. A witness for T-Mobile said the company would not install chain link fencing with barbed wire as the plans initially indicated. Instead, a white wall would surround the concrete base. T-Mobile had offered to bring visuals depicting what the clock tower would look like. The zoning board members said they needed more data. Source:;!573812432?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_wk_article&r21.pgpath=%2FBLN%2FHome&r21.content=%2FBLN%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_2735415