Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 14, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 The Magic Valley Times-News reports that Bliss, Idaho, schools were closed Monday and area businesses and homes evacuated after a fuel tanker flipped, spilling about 1,000 gallons of gas and igniting fears of an explosion. (See item 1)

1. October 13, Magic Valley Times-News – (Idaho) Fuel tanker spill causes school shutdown, evacuation. Bliss, Idaho, schools were closed Monday and area businesses and homes evacuated after a fuel tanker flipped, spilling about 1,000 gallons of gas and igniting fears of an explosion. For about eight hours, a section of U.S. Highway 26 was shut down after the tanker spilled just west of the overpass on Interstate 84 at milepost 141 near Bliss, according to Idaho State Police (ISP). Along with the ISP, which led the investigation, the Bliss Fire Department, R-5 Regional Hazmat Team and Gooding County Sheriff Department responded and were among the estimated 30 to 35 people at the scene. The gas leaked into the dirt around where the tanker landed, authorities said. The remaining gas in the felled tanker was emptied into another tanker. Source:

 The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that a massive landslide that closed a section of Highway 410 in Naches, Washington on Sunday could continue to advance for several more days. Officials say it could be weeks before Highway 410 is reopened. (See item 22)

22. October 13, Yakima Herald-Republic – (Washington) Massive landslide shuts highway, clogs Naches River. A massive landslide that closed a section of Highway 410, destroyed at least two homes, blocked and changed the flow of the Naches River and prompted the evacuation of dozens of nearby residents could continue to advance for several more days. Officials say it could be weeks before Highway 410 is reopened, and it is unclear when power will be restored to hundreds of residents along the route. The slide, about 10 miles west of Naches just west of the Woodshed Restaurant, was estimated at a quarter-mile wide and up to 40 feet deep. Sliding south toward the Naches River at about 6 a.m. Sunday, it buckled the roadway, breaking it into huge slabs and pushing the asphalt into the Naches River. With its normal channel blocked by the slide, the river flooded the south end of Nile Loop Road and the nearby area where it threatened several homes. No injuries were reported. While geologists assess the hill’s stability, hundreds of people in the Nile area likely will remain without power for a few days. Pacific Power officials said they do not want to restore power until the ground stops shifting. Authorities advised evacuation for all homes within a four-mile radius of the Nile —including a boarding school for troubled youth — although a handful of residents chose to stay. What caused the slide is not known. There has been no discernible rainfall in the area. State Department of Transportation officials began monitoring the area about 2 p.m. Saturday, when early indications of the slide became evident. Calling it a “rotational landslide,” a Washington State Patrol Sergeant said the blockage appears to be a result of earth shifting under the surface of the hillside — and not a classic landslide. “Our main concern is the river is changing its own channel, trying to find its own way around the slide. We are dealing with flooding in that area,” a spokesman said. “Our next problem is to try to take care of the folks who live up the valley. They aren’t going to have power for some time.” The slide took down several power poles, cutting power to about 800 customers in the Nile area. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

20. October 13, Bank Info Security – (National) DHS Secretary, bank chiefs confer on IT security. The Secretary of Homeland Security discussed with industry leaders over the weekend some ways to protect the nation’s financial information system from cyber attacks. “The financial institutions of this country are part of our bedrock infrastructure,” the Secretary told Bloomberg Television. “They need to be protected. We need to be able to protect them.” She declined to identify with whom she met, but said the discussions focused on corporate needs, obstacles the sector faces and global threats. She said the federal government is concerned about the use of computer systems to commit fraud or interfere with infrastructure. In the interview, the Secretary said the financial leaders want the government to provide them with “actionable intelligence,” noting that larger banks and brokerages have “a pretty robust information-sharing system amongst them” about cybersecurity. “We want to make sure that medium-, small-size local financial institutions are properly looped in and that they have a point of contact in the Department of Homeland Security either to report intrusions or prevent intrusions,” she said. Source:

21. October 12, Central Valley Business Times – (California) California cracks down on mortgage fraud. California now has new laws that are supposed to protect homeowners and homebuyers from mortgage fraud. Legislation to increase protections for consumers in the lending market and provide law enforcement with more tools to crack down on deceitful mortgage practices was signed into law on October 11 by the California Governor. The bills are supposed to: strengthen California’s reverse mortgage laws by providing senior homeowners with greater consumer protections when considering reverse mortgage agreements, make it a felony to commit fraud in connection with a mortgage application, and promote responsibility and accountability in the real estate market. “Fraudulent mortgage practices have become more prevalent as a result of the national foreclosure crisis that negatively impacted California’s housing market and economy,” says the governor. “This legislation helps crack down on abusive lending practices by giving law enforcement the tools to effectively investigate mortgage fraud crimes and provides Californians with greater consumer protections to promote homeownership in a safe and accountable environment.” Source:

Information Technology

41. October 13, The Register – (International) Polish government cyberattack blamed on Russia. A largely unsuccessful attack on Polish government systems last month reportedly originated in Russia. Details are scarce but it seemed that the attack coincided with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two. Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported that the assault targeted Polish government systems and took place at the same time the Russian Prime Minister visited Poland. The deputy head of Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW), said it was able to thwart the attack, without going into details, Infowar Monitor reports. Source:

42. October 12, DarkReading – (International) Software piracy increasingly leading to malware infection, study says. Some 41 percent of software on PCs is pirated, according to a study published last week by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). But pirated software is not just illegal, it could be dangerous to your machines, the BSA warns. Many users are downloading software illegally via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and auction sites, according to the BSA report. But these download methods can lead to malware and identity theft, the report warns. BSA uses special technology to monitor peer-to-peer networks and auction sites, issuing “takedown requests” when it finds suspicious software being offered. In the first half of 2009, BSA says it issued almost 2.4 million takedown notices related to P2P and BitTorrent file sharing, an increase of more than 200 percent compared with the same period in 2008. Likewise, in the first half of 2009, BSA used its in-house Internet “crawler” to identify and request the removal of almost 103,000 torrent files from nine of the largest BitTorrent hosting sites worldwide. These torrent files were being used by nearly 2.9 million individuals to download software with a retail value of more than $974 million, according to the BSA. Source:

43. October 9, – (National) Cyber terrorism demands new tactics: study. RAND Corporation recently became the latest independent research firm to implore government and law enforcement agencies as well as private-sector IT firms to step up their efforts and get serious about a developing a comprehensive battle plan for fighting cyber terrorism in the U.S. and around the globe. The highly respected nonprofit organization’s study, titled “Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar,” concludes that the U.S. and other nations dependent on externally accessible computer networks, particularly the ones used for electric power, telephone service, banking and military command and control, are in great danger of falling victim to a coordinated cyber attack. “Adversaries in future wars are likely to go after each other’s information systems using computer hacking,” said the report’s lead author and senior management scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “The lessons from traditional warfare cannot be adapted to apply to attacks on computer networks. Cyberspace must be addressed in its own terms.” The study results come on the heels of Wednesday’s landmark bust of 100 alleged cyber thieves in a coordinated international investigation spearheaded by the FBI and Egyptian authorities. Source:

Communications Sector

44. October 13, Royal Pingdom – (International) Sweden’s internet broken by DNS mistake. On October 12, a routine maintenance of Sweden’s top-level domain .se went seriously wrong, introducing an error that made DNS lookups for all .se domain names start failing. The entire Swedish Internet effectively stopped working at this point. Swedish (.se) websites could not be reached, email to Swedish domain names stopped working, and for many these problems persist still. According to sources we have inside the Swedish web hosting industry, the .se zone, the central record for the .se top-level domain, broke at 21:19 local time and was not returned to normal until 22:43 local time. However, since DNS lookups are cached externally by Internet service providers (ISPs) and web hosting companies, the problems remained even after that. It was not until around 23:30 local time last night that the major Swedish ISPs had flushed their own DNS caches, meaning that they cleared away the broken results so that new DNS lookups could start working properly again. If they had not done this the problem would have remained for a full 24 hours. There are still a large number of smaller ISPs that have not yet fixed the problem. It is also likely that ISPs outside of Sweden is not aware of the incident, so the effects of the problem may remain there as well. Source:

45. October 13, ComputerWorld – (International) Sidekick users may regain lost data, Microsoft says. Microsoft late October 12 held out a glimmer of hope to Sidekick users, saying that it may be able to recover some data previously believed lost in a massive server failure. “Recent efforts indicate the prospects of recovering some lost content may now be possible,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement that was duplicated on T-Mobile’s support site. “We will continue to keep you updated on this front; we know how important this is to you.” The news came two days after Microsoft and T-Mobile confirmed that a server failure “almost certainly” meant that users’ data had been lost. In a joint message at the time, the companies said that although engineers were working on the problem, “the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low.” The outage sparked users to post thousands of messages on T-Mobile’s support forums, where most customers raged at the loss, calling it “inexcusable” and beating the drum for a class-action lawsuit. On October 12, hints surfaced that Microsoft might have made progress in restoring the lost data, as some users said that personal data had reappeared on their phones. Source:

46. October 13, Miami Herald – (International) Fiber-optic cable to link Key West and Havana. Miami-based TeleCuba Communications announced on October 12 that it had been granted a license by the U.S. Treasury to install a fiber-optic cable between Key West and Havana. The 110-mile cable will cost about $18 million and should be operational by 2011, TeleCuba said in a release. Calls to the Department of Treasury were not immediately returned due to the Columbus Day holiday. TeleCuba said the cable to Cuba will allow for services such as high-speed Internet and cable television, which are not feasible using current satellite communications. The news comes weeks after the U.S. Presidential administration dropped key provisions of the economic embargo and made it legal for U.S. companies to pursue fiber-optic, cellular roaming and satellite TV and radio deals. Cuba, however, must approve any plans. In June, the Venezuelan President said the nation would invest $70 million in creating a fiber link with the Caribbean island. Source:

47. October 12, WABE 90.1 Atlanta – (Georgia) Spike in copper theft in Atlanta. Nine different reports of stolen copper in the last few weeks have AT&T concerned. “It’s a very hazardous and dangerous endeavor for those who are doing it,” says a AT&T spokesperson. “And it’s also a public safety issue because there are temporary service disruptions - I mean we get out there quickly and restore service still there’s an impact on public health and emergency services.” The culprits steal from a variety of equipment, sometimes digging the copper from the ground, sometimes climbing up telephone poles. Thieves then sell the copper to scrap metal dealers by the pound and usually make around $500 for each haul. The spokesman blames the spike on the bad economy and the increased price of copper. Source:

48. October 12, Data Center Knowledge – (International) IBM generator failure causes airline chaos. A generator failure on October 11 at an IBM data center in Auckland, New Zealand crippled key services for Air New Zealand, prompting the airline’s CEO to publicly chastise Big Blue for the failure. The data center outage crashed airport check-in systems, as well as on-line bookings and call center systems on October 11, affecting more than 10,000 passengers and throwing airports into disarray. The problem occurred during planned maintenance at IBM’s Newton data center in Auckland. A generator failed during the maintenance window, dropping power to parts of the data center, including the mainframe operations supporting Air New Zealand’s ticketing. IBM says service was restored to most clients within an hour, but local media reports say Air New Zealand’s ticketing kiosks were offline for up to six hours. The Air New Zealand chief executive is not happy. “In my 30-year working career, I am struggling to recall a time where I have seen a supplier so slow to react to a catastrophic system failure such as this and so unwilling to accept responsibility and apologise to its client and its client’s customers,” the executive wrote in an email to IBM, which then became public. Source: