Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for June 23, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 According to the Associated Press, the NTSB said there was high water along a rail line in Rockford, Illinois, where a freight train derailed on Friday, setting off a fiery explosion and killing one person. Canadian National Railway Company officials say 18 rail cars loaded with ethanol left the tracks, exploding into flames. (See item 2)

2. June 21, Associated Press – (Illinois) NTSB finds water on rails at Ill. derailment site. There was high water along the northern Illinois rail line where a freight train derailed, setting off a fiery explosion and killing one person, federal authorities said June 21. It is unclear what the exact water levels were during the crash on June 19 and what role if any water played in the accident, said the National Transportation Safety Board. Parts of northern Illinois may have gotten as much as 4 inches of rain Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, 40 to 50 miles east of Rockford, measured 3.6 inches, a record for the date. June 21 was the first full day federal investigators spent at the accident site. Burning tanker cars kept them at bay for much of June 20. The NTSB has said identifying a cause of the derailment could take a year. The agency has conducted initial interviews with the train’s crew, and investigators are looking for witnesses. Canadian National Railway Company officials say 18 rail cars loaded with ethanol left the tracks, exploding into flames. A 41 year-old of Rockford woman abandoned her car at a rail crossing and made it 20 feet before she fell and died. A 17-year-old girl injured in the accident was in critical but stable condition on June 21 at the burn unit of Chicago’s Stroger Hospital, said a spokesman. The train was hauling 114 cars, 74 of which contained highly flammable ethanol. Source: See also:

 The Associated Press reports that poultry processing plant Mountaire Farms in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina is restarting its operations after an ammonia leak killed one worker and injured four others on Saturday. (See item 17)

17. June 22, Associated Press – (North Carolina) NC plant restarting after ammonia leak kills 1. A Lumber Bridge, North Carolina poultry processing plant is restarting its operations with grief counselors on hand two days after an ammonia leak killed one worker and injured four others. Mountaire Farms said it will open on June 22 and hold an internal employee meeting to answer questions about the June 20 incident. The Millsboro, Delaware-based company said grief counselors will be available to talk to employees. Investigators have determined that the ammonia release was an accident that occurred while workers were doing maintenance work on a piece of machinery. Authorities have determined that a 47-year-old man of Fayetteville was killed. Mountaire Farms said authorities have inspected the plant and declared the building safe. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

10. June 21, WXII 12 Winston-Salem – (North Carolina) Scam messages warn of illegal account activity. People from across the Piedmont are getting calls and text messages with ominous warnings about their accounts, but it is what happens next that has a Triad credit union concerned. People are getting phone calls saying there has been unusual activity and text messages saying their accounts have been deactivated and asking them to call numbers and provide personal information. Bank officials said the messages are not coming from them. The credit union is using a message of its own to let people know about the scam. The company said people, not just their members, are getting text messages and phone calls telling them about account problems and asking people to call various numbers to verify personal information. The messages are from Piedmont Advantage and Piedmont Aviation credit unions, which is the former’s old name. The company is trying to shut down the fraudulent operation. In the meantime, people should just ignore the messages. Source:

11. June 21, Bloomberg – (Georgia; Kansas; North Carolina) Banks in North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas are seized. Banks in North Carolina, Georgia and Kansas with combined assets of $1.5 billion were seized by regulators last week, costing the U.S. insurance fund $363 million and pushing this year’s tally of failures to 40. Southern Community Bank of Fayetteville, Georgia, and 111- year-old Cooperative Bank in Wilmington, North Carolina, were closed June 19 by state officials, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency shut First National Bank of Anthony, Kansas. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver. Southern Community’s $307 million in deposits were bought by United Community Bank of Blairsville, Georgia, and most of Cooperative’s $774 million in deposits went to First Bank in Troy, North Carolina, the FDIC said. Bank of Kansas in South Hutchinson acquired First National’s $142.5 million in deposits. The acquiring banks are assuming a combined $1.47 billion in assets, mostly loans, and signed agreements with the FDIC to share more than 80 percent losses with the government. “The loss-sharing arrangement is projected to maximize returns on the assets covered by keeping them in the private sector,” the FDIC said in each statement. “The agreement also is expected to minimize disruptions for loan customers.” Source:

12. June 19, Bloomberg – (National) FDIC’s Bair pushes for greater systemic risk powers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman said a proposed council to monitor firms for systemic risk needs greater powers, and suggested she will lobby Congress to expand her agency’s authority. “We would like a seat at the table on systemic risk,” the chairman said on June 19 in an interview on cable channel CNBC. The U.S. President’s proposal, which requires congressional approval, creates a systemic-risk council and gives the Federal Reserve responsibility to identify and regulate companies deemed too big to fail. The plan announced June 17 begins a debate that is likely to result in revisions, with lawmakers criticizing it as an expansion of government power over the economy. “I do think there is a good dialogue on policy grounds that needs to occur about what the appropriate role of the council is vis-a-vis the Fed,” she said. “Adding an additional check-and- balance with a systemic-risk council, it has real teeth, I think could be part of the solution.” The plan to tighten financial supervision also dismantles the Office of Thrift Supervision and put its functions into the new National Bank Supervisor. The administration is also proposing an agency for monitoring consumer financial products, taking away some of the Fed’s powers. Source:

Information Technology

30. June 19, Baltimore Examiner – (International) Google’s online security helps fight malware. Google’s online security recently started to identify web pages that infect computers via drive-by downloads, i.e. web pages that attempt to exploit their visitors by installing and running malware automatically. During that time they have investigated billions of URLs and found more than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 web sites automatically installing malware. Third-party content is one avenue for malicious activity. Today, a lot of third-party content is due to advertising. In Google’s analysis, they found that on average 2 percent of malicious web sites were delivering malware via advertising. The underlying problem is that advertising space is often syndicated to other parties who are not known to the web site owner. In addition, Google’s security team also investigated the structural properties of malware distribution sites. Some malware distribution sites had as many as 21,000 regular web sites pointing to them. It was also found that the majority of malware was hosted on web servers located in China. Interestingly, Chinese malware distribution sites are mostly pointed to by Chinese web servers. Google says they are constantly scanning their index for potentially dangerous sites. Their automated search systems found more than 4,000 different sites that appeared to be set up for distributing malware by massively compromising popular web sites. Source:

Communications Sector

31. June 19, Wall Street Journal – (National) Air Force reports confidence in GPS satellites. The GPS fleet of military and civilian navigational satellites has resolved a recent technical problem and has “the greatest capability ever,” according to the Air Force. In a press conference with reporters on June 19, an Air Force colonel, the program manager for the Global Positioning System, said three months of studies and ground simulations has resolved a previously reported technical problem with the most recent satellite placed into orbit. The colonel said the problem, which reduced the accuracy of some signals, has “no significance” to military users of the system, and is not expected to affect later satellite models. But in still another apparent schedule slip for a new generation of GPS satellites being assembled by Boeing Co., the colonel said the first launch of those satellites could come as late as February 2010. The launch, which would update what is already considered the premier satellite-navigation system, initially was slated for this summer and then late fall. Describing the condition of the current GPS satellite fleet as robust, the colonel said some satellites are lasting up to 16 years in orbit and that is expected “to keep the constellation healthy” and provide substantial backup capacity for roughly the next decade. The latest Air Force comments are the strongest response yet to a recent critical Government Accountability Office report that raised a red flag about GPS reliability and accuracy through the middle of the next decade. Source:

32. June 22, Global Security Newswire – (National) Pentagon plans Presidential communications network that can survive nuclear attack. The Defense Information Systems Agency plans to install a Presidential communications network in the Washington area this year that will be able to survive an attack by a nuclear weapon that generates a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP), which can burn out circuit boards and other electronic devices. The agency started work on the network in 2008 and plans to install communications equipment resistant to damage by a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse. The network was developed at the direction of the “National Security Presidential Directive on Survivable Senior Leadership Communications in a HEMP Environment.” It features Promina network switches from Network Equipment Technologies Inc. and manage communications over a specially designed and deployed Voice over Internet Protocol network. DISA developed the HEMP system, which includes upgrades to a UHF network serving senior leadership in the Washington area, as part of a National Emergency Action Decision Network to serve the President, Secretary of Defense and other senior leaders. The systems will be installed in ground installations and executive aircraft, including Air Force One, four VIP Boeing 757s and two VIP Boeing 737 aircraft. Source: