Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for May 27, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 The Associated Press reports that two men were charged with 85 felonies for allegedly shooting pellet guns at more than 40 cars along a Bay Area freeway in Northern California over the past several months. (See item 18)

18. May 23, Associated Press – (California) 2 men caught in pellet-gun sniper attacks on cars along California freeway. Two 21-year-old men were charged with 85 felonies for allegedly shooting pellet guns at more than 40 cars along a Bay Area freeway in Northern California. Both men were each charged with 42 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 43 counts of vandalism in connection with the shootings over the past several months. Both defendants were expected to make their first appearance at the Fremont Hall of Justice on May 26. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) says the men are responsible for at least 45 shootings on Interstate 680 in Fremont. The CHP says they are also suspected in nine other shootings on Interstate 880. Several vehicles were damaged by the shootings and one person suffered minor injuries. Source:,2933,521429,00.html?test=latestnews

 According to Agence France-Presse, a small bomb exploded near a Starbucks cafe in Manhattan’s Upper East Side early Monday. The explosion prompted the temporary evacuation of residents in nearby buildings. (See item 24)

24. May 25, Agence France-Presse – (New York) Early morning explosion hits New York Starbucks. A small bomb rocked a Manhattan coffee shop early May 25 causing material damage but no injuries, and was speculatively linked by police to three other unsolved explosions in the city in recent years. The blast struck near a Starbucks cafe in a residential neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at about 3:30 a.m. The shop was closed at the time of the incident, but the blast smashed windows and damaged the outside facade. “We are going to analyze the type of explosive that was used,” said the New York City police commissioner. “It is described by bomb experts as a low explosive.” The incident evoked memories of three similar events in the city. “After the Mexican consulate, the British consulate, the Times Square bombing event at the recruiting station, we have this event,” the commissioner said. “They all happened between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m., that is the immediate similarity we are looking at.” The explosion prompted the temporary evacuation of residents in nearby buildings at 92nd Street and Third Avenue. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

11. May 26, IDG News Service – (National) Mobile phone location technology fights card fraud. Ericsson is courting major banks with a security service the company thinks could cut down on credit card fraud as well as eliminate an inconvenience for travelers using cards overseas. Banks are increasingly blocking credit card transactions in certain high-risk countries due to increasing levels of fraud. A business traveler who lives in the U.K. but goes to Russia can likely have a transaction rejected if the person has not informed the credit card company of their travel plans. Ericsson’s IPX Country Lookup service uses a person’s mobile phone to provide a confirmation that a person is actually in the country where the transaction is carried out, said the U.K. and Ireland regional manager for Ericsson’s IPX products. For the service to work, Ericsson’s technology must be installed on a mobile operator’s network. Once installed, Ericsson will pay the operator a “small fee” every time a bank wants to verify a certain transaction by one of their customer’s mobile phones, the manager said. Ericsson will then put a margin on the lookup fee and charge that to banks, he said. The lookup fee has not been set yet. Ericsson has figured out how to extract the location information from operators worldwide. The technology only identifies what country a person is in and not where they exactly are in that country. It only works for GSM networks. To allay privacy concerns, Ericsson is recommending that the banks should get consumers’ consent prior to using the transaction verification service. Once a person’s approximate location has been passed onto the banks, that data will not be held any longer, the manager said. Source:

12. May 26, WCAX 3 Burlington – (Vermont) Police warn of two phone scams. Williston Police say some residents have received calls from someone claiming to represent the New England Federal Credit Union. That person claims accounts have been deactivated due to suspicious activity and then asks for credit card information and pin numbers to reactivate the accounts. And Rutland City Police are reporting an identical phone scam, except this automated voice claims to represent the Heritage Family Credit Union. Both departments say this is a scam. They say if you get one of these calls report it to your bank and to your local police agency. Source:

13. May 26, American Banker – (Illinois) Regulators seize two Illinois banks. Regulators shuttered two small banks in Illinois on May 22, bringing the year’s failure total to 36. First, state regulators closed $537 million-asset Strategic Capital Bank in Champaign. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., appointed as the bank’s receiver, sold all $471 million in deposits and virtually all of its assets to Midland States Bank in Effingham.

Later, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the seizure of $437 million-asset Citizens National Bank in Macomb. The FDIC said Morton Community Bank will assume all $200 million of the failed bank’s nonbrokered deposits, and agreed to buy about $240 million of Citizens National’s assets. The FDIC will pay about $200 in brokered deposits directly. The failures come amid heightened resolution activity by the FDIC, and continued losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund. One day earlier, regulators seized $13 billion-asset BankUnited in Coral Gables, Florida, and sold it to an investor team, in the largest failure of the year. The estimated price tag for BankUnited’s resolution came to $4.9 billion, making it the second costliest failure of the crisis, behind IndyMac Bank. The FDIC said Strategic Capital will reopen as a branch of Midland States on May 26. In its deal with the buyer, the FDIC agreed to share in losses on roughly $420 million of Strategic Capital’s assets. The failure is estimated to cost the DIF $173 million. Source:

14. May 25, United Press International – (National) Report: New twists on credit scams. U.S. fraud investigators say they are finding new schemes to improve bad credit histories so lenders will approve mortgages or lines of credit. In one case, a Sacramento man obtained unused Social Security numbers and had employees at a furniture company create fake credit histories for real people with lousy credit ratings, the Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported on May 25. Prosecutors in Kansas City allege some listings on the Web site Craig’s list recently offered to “rent” a credit history dating to 1999 on a Chase Visa card with a low balance and a $55,000 limit. Similar scams discovered in other states threaten to further undermine the already shaky credit industry and the nation’s economy, an assistant U.S. attorney said. “As we have seen in recent years, what hits the lenders hits all of us,” the assistant U.S. attorney said. Source:

15. May 22, Associated Press – (California) 3 Calif. men charged in $200 million scam. California’s attorney general said on May 22 that he has charged three men with bilking investors out of $200 million through a series of business deals that collapsed. The three defendants face charges of defrauding more than 1,000 investors across California, many of them retirees who lost much of their life savings. The California attorney general said the men operated 55 businesses that collapsed over a 10-year period. The three remained in Shasta County Jail on $5 million bond each, and none has a criminal attorney yet. The charges allege that the three began selling real estate investments in 1997, promising low-risk returns averaging 12 percent. Projects included a subdivision in Susanville, a vocational school in Redding, a golf course near Tracy and an industrial center in Brentwood, all in Northern California. They conducted investment seminars targeting retirees, who invested from $50,000 to more than $1 million, according to the complaint. Many of the projects faltered or were never finished. The charges allege the men used money from new investors to pay earlier ones. The more recent investors were not told of problems arising in the team’s investment portfolio, nor of on of the defendant’s 1986 federal fraud conviction and subsequent probation violations. Source:

Information Technology

38. May 26, National Science Foundation – (National) Viral epidemics poised to go mobile. While computer viruses are common, there have been no major outbreaks of mobile phone viral infection, despite the fact that over 80 percent of Americans now use these devices. A team headed by the director of the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University set out to explain why this is true. The researchers used calling and mobility data from over six million anonymous mobile phone users to create a comprehensive picture of the threat mobile phone viruses pose to users. The results of this study, published in the May 22 issue of Science, indicate that a highly fragmented market share has effectively hindered outbreaks thus far. Further, their work predicts that viruses will pose a serious threat once a single mobile operating system’s market share grows sufficiently large. This event may not be far off, given the 150 percent annual growth rate of smart phones. This study builds upon earlier research by the same group, which used mobile phone data to create a predictive model of human mobility patterns. The current work used this model to simulate Bluetooth virus infection scenarios, finding that Bluetooth viruses will eventually infect all susceptible handsets, but the rate is slow, being limited by human behavioral patterns. This characteristic suggests there should be sufficient time to deploy countermeasures such as antiviral software to prevent major Bluetooth outbreaks. In contrast, spread of MMS viruses is not restricted by human behavioral patterns, however spread of these types of viruses are constrained because the number of susceptible devices is currently much smaller. Source:

Communications Sector

39. May 26, Chattanooga Times Free Press – (Tennessee) Comcast conversion completes initial phase. Chattanooga cable television users are adapting to the digital age with relative ease, Comcast of Chattanooga officials say. Chattanooga’s cable TV provider wraps up the first phase of its $16 million digital upgrade May 26 after distributing more than 40,000 digital boxes and transport adapters to customers served by Comcast’s hub from its Polymer Drive headquarters. Over the next five months, Comcast expects to distribute more than 250,000 other boxes to Chattanoogans to make initial or upgraded digital connections for their video services. Source:

40. May 22, KTVX 4 Salt Lake City – (National) Cell phone recall. Some cell phones are being recalled because they might not be able to help customers in an emergency. Samsung is recalling 160,000 Jitterbug phones. They say when they are in a no service area and display an “out of range, try again later” message, the phone might not connect to 911 as it should. The phones were sold from March 2008 though this May 2009. Source: