Department of Homeland Security Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Complete DHS Daily Report for October 15, 2009

Daily Report

Top Stories

 The Associated Press reports that high winds knocked out power Tuesday to more than a quarter-million Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Central and Northern California. Gusts knocked down a 500 kilovolt transmission line near Moss Landing at the center of the Monterey Bay coast, forcing the State’s electrical grid manager to declare a power emergency. (See item 2)

2. October 14, Associated Press – (California) Calif. storm causes power outages, mudslide fears. A big Pacific storm swept into California on Tuesday with damaging winds and downpours that put a community near Santa Cruz under an evacuation advisory because of potential mudslides, while homeowners near the wildfires that burned parts of Southern California braced for a dangerous overnight drenching. High winds knocked out power to more than a quarter-million Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Central and Northern California, but crews had managed to restore power to more than half, said a utility spokesman. Gusts knocked down a 500 kilovolt transmission line near Moss Landing at the center of the Monterey Bay coast, forcing the State’s electrical grid manager to declare a power emergency. Authorities said loss of the line made it hard to get power from Southern California and urged the north to conserve. About 20,000 utility customers in Los Angeles also lost power, said a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokesman. “With the first storm of the year we get a lot of outages. Dry palm fronds and branches bring down the lines,” he said. Source:

 According to the Associated Press, Ford Motor Co. said Monday that it will add 4.5 million older-model vehicles to the long list of those recalled because a defective cruise control switch could cause a fire. The latest voluntary action pushes Ford’s total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million registered vehicles over 10 years, capping the company’s largest cumulative recall in history involving a single problem. (See item 9)

9. October 14, Associated Press – (National) Ford adds 4.5M vehicles to defective switch recall. Ford Motor Co. said on October 12 it will add 4.5 million older-model vehicles to the long list of those recalled because a defective cruise control switch could cause a fire. The latest voluntary action pushes Ford’s total recall due to faulty switches to 14.3 million registered vehicles over 10 years, capping the company’s largest cumulative recall in history involving a single problem. The recall covers 1.1 million Ford Windstar minivans that had a small risk of fire due to internal leaking from the switches. Ford said in a letter to federal regulators that it found a small number of reported fires linked to the problem during an internal investigation that began last year, but did not specify how many. The remaining 3.4 million vehicles are Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models. Ford said there were no reports of fires with those models, most of them trucks and sport utility vehicles, but that they were included in the recall because they use the same switches. All vehicles covered by the recall are from the 1992 to 2003 model years. Ford advised owners of all vehicles covered by the recall to park them outside until they are mailed instructions by the end of the month on how to get repairs. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker has struggled for a decade with the problem, which has prompted hundreds of complaints and dozens of lawsuits over fires allegedly caused by faulty switches. A small number of injuries have also been linked to the problem, though none were reported in the latest recall. Previous recalls included some of Ford’s most popular brands, like the popular F-series of pickup trucks. Investigators found that the switches, made by Texas Instruments, could leak internally, overheat and potentially ignite. The recall covers the following model years: 1995-2003 Ford Windstar; 2000-2003 Ford Excursion diesel; 1993-1997 and 1999-2003 Ford F-Super Duty diesel; 1992-2003 Ford Econoline; 1995-2002 Ford Explorer; 1995-2002 Mercury Mountaineer; 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Ford Ranger; and 1994 Ford F35 Motorhome vehicles. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

12. October 14, Bloomberg – (National) U.S. will set guidelines to modify commercial real-estate loans. U.S. bank regulators, saying losses on souring commercial real-estate loans pose the biggest risk to lenders, will issue guidelines to help the institutions modify the agreements. Reduced demand for space has led to falling rental rates, adding to losses on the loans, leaders of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision said in remarks prepared for delivery at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today. “The most prominent area of risk for rising credit losses at FDIC-insured institutions during the next several quarters is in CRE lending,” the FDIC Chairman said, referring to commercial real estate. “Prudent loan workouts are often in the best interest of financial institutions and borrowers.” Large concentrations of commercial property loans are behind many of the 123 banks that failed in the past two years, draining the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund. Commercial real- estate loans totaled almost $1.1 trillion as of June, representing 14 percent of all loans and leases, the chairman said. Federal bank regulators will soon issue guidelines on commercial real-estate loan workouts, the chairman said without providing specifics. “The guidance we are working on is intended to promote supervisory consistency, enhance the transparency of CRE workout transactions, and ensure that regulatory policies and actions do not inadvertently curtail the availability of credit to sound borrowers,” said the OTS’s deputy director of examinations, supervision and consumer protection. Source:

13. October 13, Los Angeles Times – (National) Deadline looms for Americans to disclose accounts in foreign tax havens. Wealthy U.S. taxpayers, concerned about an Internal Revenue Service crackdown on the use of secret overseas bank accounts as tax havens, are rushing to meet a October 15 deadline to disclose those accounts or face possible criminal prosecution. The concern was triggered this summer when Switzerland’s largest bank, caught up in an international tax evasion dispute, said it would disclose the names of more than 4,000 of its U.S. account holders. The decision shattered a long-held belief that Swiss banks would guard the identities of its American customers as carefully as they did their money, and it raised concern that other international tax havens might be next. Under an amnesty program, the IRS is allowing taxpayers to avoid prosecution for having failed to report their overseas accounts. As a result, tax attorneys across the nation have been besieged by wealthy clients who are lining up to apply even though they will still face big financial penalties. Tax lawyers in Southern California say they have encountered an array of clients concerned about international bank accounts: Hollywood producers, immigrants who left behind foreign accounts and business owners who have stashed money overseas to avoid taxation. Some 3,000 U.S. residents have voluntarily disclosed their foreign bank accounts to the IRS this year, compared to fewer than 100 in 2008, said one U.S. government official who asked not to be identified. Source:,0,3669891.story

Information Technology

36. October 14, – (National) Multi-sourcing requires IT governance strategy with multiple tiers. Recent efforts to dig into spending at NASA have spearheaded IT transformation — specifically, a revamp of the agency’s IT sourcing strategy spanning 100 contracts and 10 NASA locations. And front and center in those efforts is an IT governance strategy that includes individuals at every level of the organization. NASA spends $17.1 billion annually on IT, and to better govern sourcing efforts around what it calls its five IT towers — desktop services, enterprise applications, Web services, network services and data center services — NASA has since grouped and consolidated the number of providers within these silos. Vendors now provide services for more than one site — previously, each site procured its own providers for certain services. NASA’s IT contracts were being executed out of 10 field centers across the country, in such locations as Johnson Space Center in Houston, Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama “Each of these sites has operated very autonomously,” said the director of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Office of the CIO. “It led to an environment in which IT infrastructure was somewhat fractured, [which] has made it very difficult for engineers and scientists to collaborate across our business centers.” It also meant duplicate services and inefficient IT spending. Multi-sourcing is a common approach for large organizations like NASA, which runs 8,000 websites (2,000 of them public-facing) and has 3,700 full-time IT employees, including 3,000 contractors. It can help enterprises diversify risk, ensure competition among various providers, cut costs related to repetitive service contracts and improve quality, collaboration and innovation among a stable of IT providers, said the vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. Still, multi-sourcing requires internal governance as well. The vice president likened an effective sourcing governance structure to a pyramid, whereby the top level should consist of a steering committee made up of a chief operating officer, the CIO and other business leaders; the middle level monitors overall program management and is composed of the directors of vendor management, the vice president of functional IT areas like applications or storage, and the head of the project management office; and the final level comprises IT operations staff and business managers who work with the applications frequently. Source:,289142,sid182_gci1371310,00.html

37. October 13, The Register – (International) Google shares malware samples with hacked site admins. Google has rolled out a feature that provides webmasters of compromised sites with samples of malicious code and other detailed information to help them clean up. The search giant has long scanned websites for malware while indexing the world wide web. When it detects outbreaks, it includes language in search results that warns the site may be harmful and passes that information along so the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers can more prominently warn users. Google also provides administrators a private list of infected pages so they can be cleaned up. Now, Google will give additional detail by offering samples of malicious code that criminal hackers may have injected into a website. In some cases, the service will also identify the underlying cause of the malicious code. Admins of compromised websites will get the information automatically when logging in to Google’s Webmaster Tools. “While it is important to protect users, we also know that most of these sites are not intentionally distributing malware,” a spokesman for Google wrote in announcing the new feature. “We understand the frustration of webmasters whose sites have been compromised without their knowledge and who discover that their site has been flagged.” The new feature will allow webmasters to view the the malicious javascript, HTML, or Adobe Flash that has been injected in to a site and provide the exact URL where it is found. The spokesman cautioned the information should be considered a starting point in the process of cleaning the sullied site. Source:

Communications Sector

38. October 14, Web Host Industry Review – (New York) CentriLogic opens Buffalo data center. Expanding its presence in New York state, outsourced data center services provider CentriLogic has opened a data center in Buffalo and a new office in Buffalo’s downtown core to support its colocation and managed hosting services. According to its October 14 announcement, CentriLogic’s decision to build facilities in Buffalo is the second phase of its plan to establish data centers across the region known as the “Golden Horseshoe.” Originally relying on its 23,000-square-foot Rochester data center that opened in 2007, CentriLogic later opened a 10,000 square foot data center in the Toronto area in April, which brought its total capacity to roughly 1,600 cabinets. Located in 23,000 square feet of offices in Main Place Tower at 350 Main St., CentriLogic provides top physical and data security systems, including fire detection and suppression, HVAC, biometric user authentication and video surveillance. Source:

39. October 13, Web Host Industry Review – (International) Tier1 releases report on new data center technologies. IT research group Tier1 Research announced on October 13 it has released a new data center report that focuses on the advancement of emerging data center technologies and the impending impact on the entire data center value chain. Entitled “Datacenter Design: The Business of Technology”, the report looks at new and innovative technologies that help increase data center efficiency and reliability, increase energy efficiency, promote adoption of data center standardization to reduce time to market and decrease long-term maintenance and costs. The report gives insight into which data center technologies will have the greatest chance of being adopted versus those technologies that will likely have slower adoption rates or no adoption at all within the next few years. A range of data center design technologies are discussed in the report including modularization and containers, powered base buildings, economizers, heat reclamation/cogeneration, absorption chillers, thermal storage, and power monitoring and data center controls. The report covers key public and private companies in the Internet data center sector, including 365 Main, Schneider Electric, Avocent, CoreSite, Digital Realty Trust, DuPont Fabros, Eaton, Emerson Network Power, IBM, NTT America, Quality Technology Services, Raritan, Stream Realty, Telehouse Europe, Turbine Air Systems and Validus DC Systems. Source: