Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 6, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 The Birmingham News reports that the U.S. Postal Service is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who was responsible for the shooting death of one of its contract truck drivers Friday afternoon in Camp Hill, Alabama. Authorities are trying to ascertain whether anything was taken from the truck he was driving. (See item 26)

26. October 5, Birmingham News – (Alabama) U.S. Postal Service offers $100,000 reward in mail truck driver’s slaying in Camp Hill, Alabama. The U.S. Postal Service is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who was responsible for the shooting death of one of its contract truck drivers Friday afternoon in Camp Hill. The victim was shot to death between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Friday at the post office in Camp Hill, said a postal inspector and public information officer for the postal service. The victim was on duty and running a route when he was killed, he said. Camp Hill is about 100 miles southeast of Birmingham on U.S. 280 near Dadeville. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department, Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Camp Hill Police Department are investigating the shooting. Authorities do not know the motive for the shooting, but are trying to ascertain whether anything was taken from the truck he was driving, the postal inspector said Sunday. “Right now they’re not ruling out anything at this point,” he said. Source: http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/metro.ssf?/base/news/125473052589710.xml&coll=2

 According to the Associated Press, firefighters waged an aggressive ground and air assault Sunday against a wind-fanned wildfire that erupted in the San Gabriel Mountains and threatened the popular resort community of Wrightwood, California. Between 4,000 to 6,000 residents were ordered to evacuate. (See item 49)

49. October 4, Associated Press – (California) Up to 6,000 told to flee California fire. Firefighters waged an aggressive ground and air assault Sunday against a wind-fanned wildfire that erupted in the San Gabriel Mountains and threatened a popular resort community. Crews spent the day cutting fire lines while battling erratic winds. Helicopters and air tankers, which were briefly grounded due to the gusty weather, dropped water and retardant on the blaze, which grew to 7,500 acres. Flames advanced within a quarter-mile of the mountain resort community of Wrightwood, which was under mandatory evacuation. By Sunday afternoon, firefighters were cautiously optimistic about keeping the fire at bay, aided somewhat by cooling temperatures and higher humidity. The so-called Sheep fire destroyed three homes in remote canyons and was 20 percent surrounded. More than 700 personnel were fighting the fire. Between 4,000 to 6,000 residents were ordered to evacuate, officials said. The Governor declared a state of emergency for San Bernardino County, freeing up state resources to battle the fire. The blaze broke out Saturday afternoon near Lytle Creek, a small community surrounded by national forest. Fueled by thick timber and brush, the fire pushed over hills and canyons by fast-moving winds. Evacuation centers were set up at a high school in nearby Rialto and at the Victorville Fairgrounds. The cause of the fire was under investigation. Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33159557/ns/weather/


Banking and Finance Sector

12. October 5, Pension and Investments – (National) Lo thinks FDIC could fail. The FDIC might fail, requiring a federal bailout, dragged down by the failure of regional banks with substantial commercial mortgage debt, a chief investment strategist and finance professor said. The founder and chief investment strategist of AlphaSimplex Group and a finance professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that a failure to restructure debt on Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the vast New York apartment complex, could cause New York banks holding its debt to collapse. The value of the property reportedly has dropped more than $3.2 billion since it was acquired in 2006 for $5.4 billion by Tishman Speyer Properties and partners. The strategist made his comments at a press briefing hosted by Natixis Global Asset Management, AlphaSimplex’s parent company. The FDIC has proposed that banks prepay their assessments to the FDIC for the next three years, generating some $45 billion for the cash-strapped insurance fund. Source: http://www.pionline.com/article/20091005/PRINTSUB/310059969

13. October 5, Cleveland Plain Dealer – (National) Report says government was wrong about some claims of bailout program in October 2008. The credibility of the government’s $700 billion financial rescue program was damaged by claims a year ago that all of the initial banks receiving support were healthy, a new report contends. The Treasury Department’s special inspector general generally found that the government had acted properly in October 2008 as it scrambled to implement the Troubled Asset Relief Program to avert the collapse of the U.S. financial system. But the report said that the then-Treasury Secretary and other officials were wrong to contend at an October 14, 2008 news conference that all nine institutions receiving the first round of support, $125 billion, were sound. The inspector general said that the fact that Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. soon required billions in additional assistance highlighted the inaccuracy of that claim and raised questions about the whole effort. In addition, Merrill Lynch, which was also in the original nine, was in the process of being acquired by Bank of America because of its weakening financial position. “Statements that are less than careful or forthright, like those made in this case, may ultimately undermine the public’s understanding and support,” the report said. “This loss of public support could damage the government’s credibility and have long-term unintended consequences that actually hamper the government’s ability to respond to crises.” Source: http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/post_10.html

14. October 4, Examiner – (New York) Terrorism financier pleads guilty in New York. A suspect pleaded guilty on October 3 to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The plea was entered in Manhattan federal court before a United States district judge. According to documents obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, including the Information to which he pleaded guilty and statements made during legal proceedings, the 56-year old of Ardsley, New York, facilitated the transfer of $152,000, with the understanding that the money would be used to fund training for terrorists. In the latter half of 2006, the suspect agreed to discreetly transfer these funds for an undercover officer, believing that the money was going to be used to purchase night vision goggles and other equipment for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. During his guilty plea, the suspect admitted that he sent the money from the United States knowing that the funds were to be used to help finance alleged terrorist activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The suspect also pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from victims through his fraudulent operation of a loan investment program he called the Flat Electronic Data Interchange or “FEDI”. FEDI was purportedly a high-yield investment program, in which he falsely promised his investors that, in exchange for their investment, they would receive high, guaranteed rates of return. The suspect admitted that he made false representations and promises with regard to the FEDI program. He also acknowledged that a portion of the money he collected was used to pay personal expenses and for purposes other than the investment program. Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m10d2-Terrorism-financier-pleads-guilty-in-New-York

15. October 3, Wall Street Journal – (National) FDIC seizes three banks, taking tally for year to 98. Banking regulators seized small banks in Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado, bringing to 98 the number of U.S. banks that have failed so far this year. The family-owned Jennings State Bank of Spring Grove, Minnesota, had assets of $56.3 million and deposits of $52.4 million as of July 31, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The agency entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Central Bank, in Stillwater, Minnesota, which got the failed bank’s deposits, essentially all of its assets and two branches. Central and the FDIC also agreed to share losses on $37.7 million in assets. Warren, Michigan Warren Bank had assets of $538 million and deposits of about $501 million as of July 31, according to the FDIC. A unit of Huntington Bancshares Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, got the failed bank’s deposits and six branches. Huntington also bought $83 million of Warren’s assets. Warren has been under pressure from the Federal Reserve and other regulators since early March, as mounting losses chipped away at the bank’s capital ratios, the Chief Financial Officer said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in late August. The bank tried unsuccessfully to raise private capital. The FDIC said the two bank failures are expected to cost the agency’s deposit-insurance fund about $293.3 million. Southern Colorado National Bank of Pueblo, Colorado, had assets of $39.5 million and deposits of $31.9 million. Legacy Bank of Wiley, Colorado, got Southern Colorado National’s two branches, all of its deposits and assets. FDIC and Legacy Bank agreed to share losses on $25.5 mil in assets. The number of failures so far in 2009 is the most since the savings-and-loan crisis in the early 1990s. Hundreds more banks are still expected to go down before the current financial downturn is over. Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125452278935060469.html

16. October 2, Bloomberg – (Michigan) Detroit man indicted in $200 million ponzi scheme. A 73-year-old Michigan man was indicted on 59 counts of mail fraud in connection with a decade long, $200 million Ponzi scheme that ensnared hundreds of investors across the country, the Justice Department said. The defendant faces as many as 20 years in prison on each count, a U.S. attorney said in a statement. The defendant was scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit on October 2. The defendant is accused of defrauding investors by selling stakes in ventures he falsely claimed had telecommunications contracts with Hilton Worldwide, Sheraton Holding Corp., Hyatt Hotels Corp. and MGM Mirage hotels across the country, according to the U.S. attorney. The defendant used the money to make payments to earlier investors and enrich himself, the U.S. attorney said. “Today’s charges allege a financial fraud and abuse of trust on a massive scale,” the U.S. attorney said in the statement. “Managers of investor funds owe a high duty to those who trust them to steward their savings with care and integrity.” The defendant and the investment firm he founded, E-M Management Co., partially settled a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit over the practice in December 2007 without admitting or denying wrongdoing, according to court documents. Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=arXKjWL5FxYk

17. October 2, WOWT 6 Omaha – (Nebraska) Police warn of text message scam. Omaha Police are warning that scammers are using text messages, hoping to trick credit union customers into revealing account numbers. Customers get a text saying their bank card has been deactivated and are instructed to call an 877 number to reactivate it. That is when scammers ask for private information. When scammers went fishing for victims, one individual got hooked by a text alert she thought came from her credit union. “It said alert, your card has been deactivated, please contact us to reactivate your card.” So she called the automated line listed in the text and read her debit card numbers into the recording, right down to the PIN number that provides ATM access. “After I did all that it hung up so I thought that didn’t feel right at all.” When she realized she had been duped into giving up all the personal information in her account, she went to an ATM and withdrew all her money before the scammers could do it. A customer at Greater Omaha Credit Union was not so lucky, losing several hundred dollars to scammers 2,000 miles away. “Huntington Beach, California and once he changed his PIN somebody went in and withdrew the money,” said the Greater Omaha Federal Credit Union president. The credit union staff fielded calls all day from customers and others who received the bogus text. “Basically asking why they had been getting this text message and most of them don’t even have accounts with us,” said a teller. The scammers learn the first three numbers for certain cell phone providers in an area and just dial in remaining digits for mass texting, hoping to catch customers. Source: http://www.wowt.com/news/headlines/63331477.html

18. October 2, Newsday – (Virginia) Suffolk police probe credit union debit card scam. Suffolk investigators are probing a scam involving attempts to steal card numbers and personal identification numbers from credit union debit card holders, police said on October 2. It is not known how many people may have fallen for the scam or whether they lost any money, said the commanding officer of the Suffolk County identity theft squad. The scam worked by sending text or voice messages to card holders, who are told their debit card numbers had been deactivated, police said. The would-be victims were told to call a phone number and provide account and PIN numbers to reactivate the accounts. The scam has targeted members of several credit unions, including Suffolk Federal Credit Union and Island Federal Credit Union, an official said. Suffolk police were tipped to the scam by a credit union and a county employee who received a scam message. Source: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/suffolk-police-probe-credit-union-debit-card-scam-1.1495545

Information Technology

43. October 5, ZDNet – (International) VMware Fusion update fixes two holes. An update for VMware’s Fusion software has patched two vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to control or crash a user’s computer. Fusion allows VMware customers to run Windows applications on Intel-based Macs. The flaws affect all versions of the software running on Mac OS X prior to and including 2.0.5. In an advisory published on Thursday, VMware warned that the two vulnerabilities affect the kernel of the software. One, a kernel code execution flaw, is caused by a file permission problem in the vmx86 kernel extension. The other, an integer overflow bug in the vmx86 kernel extension, could lead to a successful denial-of-service attack, the virtualization specialist said. An attacker does not need administrative privileges to target these security holes. VMware advised customers running the software on Mac OS X to download Fusion version 2.0.6 from VMware downloads. Customers may be entitled to a 12-month free subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009, depending on their version of Fusion. They should review their product release notes to verify whether they can get the free subscription, according to the advisory. Source: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/security/0,39044215,62058298,00.htm

44. October 3, The Register – (International) Mozilla unveils cure for Web 2.0 world run amok. The Mozilla Foundation has unveiled an early version of its Firefox browser that it says could virtually eliminate one of the most common attack forms now menacing the web. It implements an inchoate technology the foundation calls CSP, short for the Content Security Policy specification. It allows web developers to embed a series of HTML headers into their sites that by default block some of the most abused features from being offered. Newer versions of Firefox, and other browsers if they adopt the standard, would then enforce those policies across the site’s entire domain. The primary aim of CSP is to immunize websites from attacks based on XSS, or cross-site scripting. The exploits frequently target javascript, Adobe Flash and other user-supplied content that allows attackers to inject malicious content and code into trusted websites. Administrators then have the option of whitelisting only the types of content they need to make their sites work as designed. “A lot of the big sites who are dealing with user content and who are seeing some of these problems with cross-site scripting, we’ve heard excitement from them,” said an individual whose official title at Mozilla is human shield. “It’s hard to filter out all the potentially bad things that a malicious user can include.” The CSP preview builds are designed to give web developers a sneak peek at the specification and chime in with suggestions for making it better. Mozilla hopes it will become an open standard and is already shepherding it through the World Wide Web Consortium. Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/03/mozilla_web_20_solution/

45. October 2, The Register – (International) Google (finally) adds protection for common Web 2.0 attack. Google has beefed up the security of Gmail and its other services by adding a feature to login pages that blocks one of the more common forms of web attacks. The upgrade is designed to protect against CSRF, or cross-site request forgery, attacks. The technique subverts basic website defenses by exploiting the often-misplaced trust one site has in another. Over the past three years, vulnerabilities in Gmail, YouTube, and other Google properties have put user accounts at risk of being accessed by miscreants who use the method. Sometime in the last three days, Google’s login pages began setting a cookie with a unique token on each user’s browser, according to a senior researcher for Foreground Security. That same value is also embedded into the login form. If the two don’t match, the user will be unable to log in. “It’s one of those things that people have been telling them to fix for a long time and for whatever reason, they haven’t done so until just now,” the researcher told The Register. “They finally implemented the protection that pretty much everybody in the industry recommends they use.” A Google spokesman confirmed that the company added CSRF protection to login pages. Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/02/google_web_attack_protection/

46. October 2, SCMagazine – (International) Facebook cuts off accounts spreading rogue anti-virus. Facebook has cut off scores of fake member profiles attempting to push rogue anti-virus programs to unwitting users. The chief research officer of security firm AVG said in a blog post on October 1 that he and his team have witnessed some 200 real-looking profiles on Facebook containing purporting to belong to a blonde woman. Each profile looks the same except that it contains different names for the woman. He told SCMagazineUS.com on October 2 that the purveyors of the scam likely are getting victims to visit the bogus profiles through socially engineered emails. Included on the Facebook profile is a link to view a home video, the research officer said. Clicking on the link takes victims to another site that pretends to scan their computer for malware, inevitably turning up infections. Then, the site asks victims to enter their credit card and other personal information so they can install an anti-virus product, which turns out to be fake. “It looks like an AV program, except it’s making up stories of what’s actually on your computer,” the research officer said. “It doesn’t offer an uninstall option and it generally burrows deep, like a rootkit. It’s generally very difficult to remove.” A Facebook spokesman told SCMagazineUS.com October 2 that the social networking site has disabled the offending accounts. He also discounted initial speculation by the research officer that the attackers likely broke Facebook’s CAPTCHA controls to create automated profiles. Instead, the spokesman said engineers determined the attack was done manually. Source: http://www.scmagazineus.com/Facebook-cuts-off-accounts-spreading-rogue-anti-virus/article/151317/

Communications Sector

47. October 5, Techrockies.com – (New Mexico) Qwest opens Albuquerque data center. Denver-based telecom provider Qwest reported that it has opened up a new data center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to provide dedicated hosting to businesses and government agencies. The firm said the data center is it’s 16th. The firm said the new center is slated to have more than 14,000 square feet, and is int he process of build out to be completed in 2010. The center is open now and serving its customers. Qwest explained that the center is part of a $250M investment effort in New Mexico. Source: http://www.techrockies.com/story/0024376.html

48. October 5, Slashgear – (National) T-Mobile Sidekick users still without data access. There are few things worse for users of a smartphone than having a data outage that prevents a user from using the basic functionality of a device. This is exactly where T-Mobile Sidekick users found themselves over the weekend as a data outage has plagued users of Sidekick devices, and continues to do so. Boy Genius Report reports that Sidekick users across the country are unable to access data through Danger’s servers. That leaves users of the devices only being able to send text messages and make calls. What is not available to users is email, Internet and contacts. T-Mobile promised a repair by October 4, which has failed to happen. So far, there has been no statement on October 5 from T-Mobile on a possible fix ETA for Sidekick users not what specifically causes the outage. Source: http://www.slashgear.com/t-mobile-sidekick-users-still-without-data-access-0558975/