Thursday, September 30, 2010

Complete DHS Daily Report for September 30, 2010

Daily Report

Top Stories

•According to the Florida Independent, federal authorities said a Pinellas County, Florida businessman for years dealt in counterfeit computer chips that went to defense contractors and the military, risking lives and endangering national security. (See item 11)

11. September 24, Florida Independent – (Florida; National) Defense contractor confirms indicted Florida businessman sold counterfeit computer chips. Federal authorities said a Pinellas County, Florida businessman for years dealt in counterfeit computer chips, risking the lives of military personnel and potentially endangering national security. Authorities said his dealings in counterfeit “military grade” integrated circuits, or ICs, made him rich, but one alleged victim — a major defense contractor specializing in missile technology — said the company purchased chips that turned out to be fake from a supplier, who bought them from the businessman. “We quickly determined upon failure-testing they were counterfeit and contacted the FBI,” said a spokesman for Raytheon, a major defense and aerospace systems supplier. The week of September 13, federal authorities descended on the businessman’s Clearwater electronics dealership, VisionTech Components, after a Washington D.C. grand jury came back with indictments for him and his office manager accusing them of mail fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods. U.S. Attorney’s Office officials said his company made 31 separate sales of 59,540 counterfeit integrated circuits imported from China and Hong Kong for $425,293 to various companies, including ones with contracts with the U.S. Navy. Source:

•Associated Press reports that European security officials said September 29 a terror plot to wage Mumbai-style shooting sprees in Britain, France, and Germany is still active. The plot was in its early stages and not considered serious enough to raise the current terror threat level, officials said. Still, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was briefly evacuated September 28 for the second time in the past week because of an unspecified threat. (See item 44)

44. September 29, Associated Press – (International) Europe terror threat still active. European security officials said September 29 a terror plot to wage Mumbai, India-style shooting sprees in Britain, France, and Germany is still active and that sites in Pakistan — where the threat was intercepted 2 weeks ago — are being scoured for al-Qaeda operatives. The plot was still in its early stages and not considered serious enough to raise the current terror threat level, officials said. Still, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France was briefly evacuated September 28 for the second time in the past week because of an unspecified threat, and police were on alert in Britain and France. “This plot was in its embryonic stages,” a British government official told the Associated Press September 29. “This one has preoccupied us more than others in the past few weeks — and it is still active — but it has not raised enough alarms to change our security threat level.” The announcement of the plot came ahead of the September 30 anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons being published in a Danish newspaper. It also came as Spanish authorities announced they had arrested September 28 a U.S. citizen of Algerian origin on suspicion of financing al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

12. September 29, BBC News – (International) European cities hit by anti-austerity protests. Tens of thousands of people from around Europe have marched across Brussels, Belgium in a protest against spending cuts by some EU governments. Spain has held a general strike, with protesters in Barcelona clashing with police and torching a police car. Other protests against austerity measures have been held in Greece, Italy, the Irish Republic, and Latvia. Trade unions said EU workers may become the biggest victims of a financial crisis set off by bankers and traders. Police sealed off the EU headquarters and barricaded banks and shops ahead of the protest in Brussels. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many carrying large red and green balloons and banners, headed towards EU institution buildings in the Belgian capital. In the Irish Republic, a man drove a cement mixer covered with anti-bank slogans into the gates of the parliament in Dublin, in an apparent protest at the country’s expensive bank bail-out. Source:

13. September 29, Wall Street Journal – (International) U.K. arrests 19 for major bank hack. Police arrested 19 people in London as part of an investigation into an international cybercrime gang that authorities believe stole at least $9.5 million from accounts held at major U.K. banks, including HSBC Holdings PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. In dawn raids September 28, officers arrested the 15 men and 4 women on suspicion of computer-related crimes, according to London’s Metropolitan police service, known as Scotland Yard. A police spokesman said they are not believed to be British citizens, but declined to specify their nationalities. Police suspect the group of having targeted thousands of computers belonging to U.K. banking customers by infecting them with a computer code called Zeus, which has become widely used by criminals world-wide. The code allowed the fraudsters to capture personal log-in details by enabling them to trick people who bank online into entering their details into fake Web pages that mimic those of their banks. Police believe the group then used the information to gain unauthorized access to the bank accounts and transfer funds to “mule” or “drop” accounts controlled by the criminal network. Source:

14. September 27, Digital Transactions News – (National) Debit card fraud strikes Aldi grocery-store customers. A rash of debit card fraud has hit customers of the discount supermarket chain Aldi. Criminals obtained customers’ PINs and card numbers in the Midwest to make unauthorized ATM withdrawals in other states, especially California. Batavia, Illinois-based Aldi’s case is different from most retail card fraud because the chain, owned by Germany-based Aldi Sud, accepts only cash and PIN-debit cards, including public-benefits cards, though it has tested credit cards. Aldi said the fraud is the result of “tampering” with debit card terminals. That suggests fraudsters placed skimmers on point-of-sale terminals to capture card data, though the company refuses to provide details. Last weekend, more press reports emerged about fraud involving Aldi shoppers in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles and in Kane County, Illinois. The U.S. Secret Service is involved in the probe, according to the Daily Herald. Source:

15. September 27, Reuters – (National) U.S. Mint says has run out on Buffalo gold coins. The U.S. Mint has run out of a type of highly pure gold coin it had been selling amid record high prices of gold. The mint said it will not stock more of the 1-ounce, 24-karat American Buffalo bullion coins. “The United States Mint has depleted its inventory of 2010 American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Bullion Coins,” the Mint said in a statement, seen by Reuters September 27. Gold prices have hit record highs over the last 2 weeks, breaching $1,300 per ounce, as investors bought into the precious metal on global economic health worries and possibilities of more U.S. stimulus programs that could weaken the U.S. dollar. Source:

Information Technology

36. September 29, Networld World – (International) Many Android apps leak user privacy data. A recent test of prototype security code for Android phones found that 15 of 30 free Android Market applications sent users’ private information to remote advertising servers, without the users being aware of what was being sent or to whom. In some cases, the user’s location data was sent as often as every 30 seconds. The software, called TaintDroid, was designed to uncover how user-permitted applications actually access and use private or sensitive data, including location, phone numbers, and even SIM card identifiers, and to notify users within seconds. The findings suggest that Android, and other phone operating systems, need to do more to monitor what third-party applications are doing under the covers of smartphones. TaintDroid is a joint effort by researchers at Duke University, Intel Labs, and Penn State University. The team’s paper, “TaintDroid: An Information-Flow Tracking System for Realtime Privacy Monitoring on Smartphones” will be presented in October at the USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation. Source:

37. September 28, The Register – (International) Researchers up evilness ante with GPU-assisted malware. Computer scientists have developed proof-of-concept malware that evades traditional security defenses by running on a PC’s graphics processor. The prototype taps a PC’s GPU to decrypt, or “unpack,” a malicious payload from a file just prior to being run on a targeted machine. “Implementing the self-unpacking functionality of a malware binary using GPU code can pose significant obstacles to current malware detection and analysis systems,” the scientists wrote in a research paper scheduled to be presented next month at the IEEE’s International Conference on Malicious and Unwanted Software. “A malware author can take advantage of the computational power of modern graphics processors and pack the malware with extremely complex encryption schemes that ... can be efficiently computed due to the massively parallel architecture of GPUs.” The prototype was designed to run on GPUs compatible with Nvidia’s Computer Unified Device Architecture. It would not be hard for attackers to include another framework in the same malicious binary that supports GPUs made by AMD. The paper was written by scientists from The Foundation for Research and Technology in Greece, and Columbia University. Source:

38. September 28, DarkReading – (International) You’re always just two clicks away from malware. A new study has found that users visiting the top 1,000 Web sites are typically no more than two clicks away from malicious content. Websense discovered three main paths to malware: Aside from the top Web sites, there are poisoned search results and malicious links. Among the top 1,000 sites typically at least two mouse clicks away from malware are 72 percent of the top news and media sites; 71 percent of the top message boards and forums; and more than half of all social networking sites, according to the study. “This suggests a high degree of correlation between the most highly visited websites and malware,” said the senior security research director for Websense. Source:

39. September 27, Softpedia – (International) XSS worm hits Orkut. A cross-site scripting vulnerability was exploited September 25 on Orkut to launch a fast-spreading worm that auto-posted a rogue message reading “Bom Sabado” on people’s scrapbooks. “Bom Sabado” means “Good Saturday” in Portuguese, which led some people to assume that the worm originated in Brazil, where Orkut has a significantly large user base. The messages, which has rogue JavaScript code embedded into them, forced logged in users to repost them on their friends’ scrapbooks (the equivalent of “Walls” on Facebook). The attack was extremely viral and affected almost 10 percent of all Orkut users, 70 percent of whom are from India or Brazil. The social network has over 52 million users. Google fixed the underlying vulnerability in a matter of hours. According to some reports, the worm also automatically subscribed victims to a group. However, News Live quotes a Google spokesperson who said the attack was not malicious. Source:

40. September 27, DarkReading – (International) Security is chief inhibitor to Web 2.0 implementation, study finds. About half of businesses are concerned about the security of Web 2.0 applications, according to a survey of more than 1,000 business decision-makers in 17 countries. The survey was commissioned by McAfee and authored by faculty affiliated with the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University. About 60 percent of respondents are also concerned about the loss of reputation that might occur through the misuse of Web 2.0 applications, which include such technologies as social media, microblogging, collaborative platforms, Web mail, and content sharing tools. Brazil, Spain, and India lead in adoption of Web 2.0 technology for business, while adoption was lowest in Canada, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, said the report, which was published September 27. Source:

Communications Sector

41. September 29, Petoskey News-Review – (Michigan) AT&T service disruption due to system upgrade. AT&T Customers around the Petoskey, Michigan, area have been experiencing a disruption in their mobile service since September 27 because of complications with the system upgrade to a 3G network. “There is a tower down in the area because of the change over to the 3G network. Our local engineers have been having trouble with the upgrades, so there are engineers here from down state to help fix the problem,” Petoskey’s AT&T manager said. The disruption will only be temporary, but the changes will provide customers in the area with faster Internet from their mobile phones. Source:,0,6800842.story

42. September 28, Computerworld – (International) CDW survey: 25% of customers reported network outage in last year. In a business continuity survey of 7,000 CDW customers, 1,794, or about 25 percent, reported experiencing a network disruption of 4 hours or more within the last year. CDW then conducted a second poll of 200 IT decision-maker customers who had experienced significant network outages since July 2009 and found that half said power loss was the top cause of the problem. Hardware failures were cited by 29 percent of the respondents and lost telecommunications were named by 21 percent. CDW polled customers for its Business Continuity Straw Poll, which looks at how businesses dealt with disruptions and the measures they are taking to improve business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. The survey results also showed: 51 percent experienced problems connecting to their IT network from other locations; 50 percent had problems connecting from inside their business locations; and 46 percent said employees could not access the necessary company resources to do their jobs during an outage. Source:

43. September 28, WNCN 17 Raleigh – (North Carolina) 3,000 CenturyLink customers lose communication services. A total of 3,000 CenturyLink customers in Wake Forest, North Carolina, were without phone service after a construction crew damaged a fiber optic cable September 28. A spokesperson for CenturyLink said the third party construction crew damaged the cable on Jones Dairy Road, around 10:30 a.m. All communication services, including phone and DSL service, were not operating until service was restored around 2 p.m. The Cumberland County Mental Health Center and the Child Support Department in Fayetteville are also experiencing an outage with CenturyLink services. Source:

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