Friday, February 4, 2011

Complete DHS Daily Report for February 4, 2011

Daily Report

Top Stories

• A monstrous blizzard that cut across 30 states, brought subzero temperatures and knocked out power to more than 1.4 million people, according to (See item 4)

4. February 2,; NBC News; Associated Press; Reuters – (National) Blizzard cuts power as deep freeze sets in. Blizzard conditions lifted across the Midwest by February 3, but subzero temperatures into February 4 will test the hundreds of thousands still without power. In Ohio alone, more than 200,000 homes and businesses were without power as trees downed by snow, ice, and wind cut power lines. In the Chicago, Illinois area, 123,000 utility customers saw their electricity cut at the height of the blizzard. Crews had reduced that to 48,000 by February 3. In Texas, soaring electricity demand due to frigid cold forced the power grid operator to start rolling blackouts of up to an hour on 1 million homes. The monstrous storm, billed as the worst in decades, delivered knock-out after knock-out as it made its way from Texas to Maine, touching 30 states. The Red Cross said it opened more than 70 shelters across the Midwest. Around 2,430 National Guard troops provided winter storm support, NBC News reported. Source:

• Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives whistleblowers charged the agency failed to adequately track guns sold across the southern border, including one found near where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was slain, the Los Angeles Times reports. (See item 52)

52. February 2, Los Angeles Times – (National) Guns tracked by firearms bureau found at firefight scene. Federal law enforcement sources have confirmed that two AK-47 assault rifles, part of a series of purchases that were being monitored by U.S. authorities, were found at the scene of the firefight that killed a U.S. Border Patrol agent in southern Arizona, December 14. Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing. As a result, “the next time they became aware of those weapons was when they turned up at the crime scene,” one source said. The disclosure comes amid a widening congressional investigation into allegations lodged by whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They alleged the agency was aware of the purchase of assault weapons in the United States by buyers suspected of selling across the border, but failed to adequately track them. A U.S. Senator from Iowa has asked the bureau for detailed answers about its gun smuggling investigation, known as Project Gunrunner. In a letter, he said there are “serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy.” He has focused on allegations two AK-47s purchased from a dealer in Glendale, Arizona January 16, 2010, were then used in the December 14 firefight that left a border patrol agent dead. Federal sources said agents were notified about the sale of the guns several days after the purchase. Source:,0,6169639.story


Banking and Finance Sector

22. February 3, Norristown Times Herald – (Pennsylvania) One man in custody, at least two still at large, robbers reportedly armed. Downtown Main Street in Norristown, Pennsylvania, saw a swarm of police officers for several hours February 2, in hot pursuit of three masked robbers who attacked a Brinks security truck operator outside a bank. Reportedly armed with automatic weapons, the suspects assaulted the operator as he was delivering undisclosed sums of money to the Bank of America. Police escorted the injured Brinks driver from the bank. Bags of coins and boxes of cash were strewn about in front of the bank. Moments after police responded, they discovered the getaway vehicle – a navy blue Dodge Caravan – haphazardly parked in the snow bank behind the Regatta Apartment Homes complex. It was unclear February 2 whether the minivan had driven off-road for a short time to escape police. Responders from Norristown Police Department, Whitemarsh Police Department, Lower Providence Police Department, and Plymouth Police Department’s K-9 unit responded. Police were seen handcuffing a “person of interest” along West Main Street, but have not confirmed whether the man was involved in the robbery. Source:

23. February 3, IDG News Service – (International) Next-generation banking malware emerges after Zeus. The rumored combination of two pieces of advanced online banking malware appears to be fully underway after several months of speculation. What appears to be a beta version of a piece of malware that has bits of both Zeus and SpyEye is now in circulation, albeit among just a few people, said the CTO and cofounder of Seculert. Seculert has published screen shots of the new malware, which has two versions of a control panel used for managing infected computers. One of those control panels resembles one in Zeus, and the other resembles that in SpyEye. Both of the control panels are connected to the same back-end command-and-control server, he said. Source:

24. February 2, South Florida Sun Sentinel – (Florida) 9 charged in $12 million bank fraud scheme. Nine South Florida residents were charged February 2 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami in a $12 million bank fraud scheme. From September 2005 through September 2008, the defendants conspired to submit false loan applications to Wells Fargo Bank (formerly Wachovia Bank) to get about $12 million in commercial lines of credit. This resulted in about $10 million in losses to the bank, according to the charges.


25. February 2, North Canton Patch – (Ohio) North Canton Police, FBI investigate FirstMerit Bank thefts totaling $500,000. Police and FBI officials are investigating the theft of nearly $500,000 from the accounts of five senior citizens who use the FirstMerit Bank in North Canton, Ohio. The police spokesman said the FBI joined the department in investigating soon after the first report on September 15, 2010. Since then, four more reports have come in, with the latest filed January 17. “The FBI and myself are investigating it,” said the spokesman, who heads the department’s detective bureau. “We’re continuing to follow up with bank records and interview people. And our intent is to eventually present our evidence to the federal grand jury.” The police spokesman said someone withdrew victims’ money from various kinds of accounts and he declined to comment on possible suspects. He said he also could not comment on why certain people were targeted, only, “So far, the investigation rules senior citizens have been the target.” Source:

26. February 2, Securities and Exchange Commission – (National) SEC rules for security swap execution facilities. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted unanimously February 2 to propose rules defining security-based swap execution facilities (SEFs) and establishing their registration requirements, as well as their duties and core principles. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act authorized the SEC to implement a regulatory framework for security-based swaps, which currently trade exclusively in the over-the-counter markets with little transparency or oversight. The Dodd-Frank Act sought to move the trading of security-based swaps onto regulated trading markets, and therefore created security-based SEFs as a new category of market intended to provide more transparency and reduce systemic risk. “Our objective here is to provide a framework that allows the security-based swap market to continue to develop in a more transparent, efficient, and competitive manner,” the SEC Chairman said. “This is an important and complex undertaking that adds a significant new component to the regulatory framework for over-the-counter derivatives.” Source:

Information Technology

54. February 2, Softpedia – (International) Two fraud gangs targeting Apple stores dismantled in US. The Manhattan District Attorney announced that 27 people have been indicted for offenses in connection to cybercriminal operations that involved purchasing electronic equipment from Apple Stores across the United States using counterfeit credit cards. One identity theft ring was allegedly ran as a family business by a man from Brooklyn, New York, and continued to operate even as he was serving time in prison for an unrelated offense. The gang’s 17 members, who have all been charged, include the man’s girlfriend and his brothers. According to prosecutors, the identity thieves were buying credit card magnetic strip data from cybercriminals overseas and were encoding it onto fake cards. They then imprinted their names onto the credit cards so that it seems as if they belong to them and went on a shopping spree at Apple stores in Manhattan in New York, and around the country. The fraudulently purchased Macbooks, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products were being sold on the black market for considerable profits. Source:

55. February 2, Softpedia – (International) Hacker steals $12 million-worth of Zynga virtual poker chips. An IT expert pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the theft of virtual poker chips from social game developer Zynga and their reselling on the black market. The 29-year-old from Little Park Road in Paignton, United Kingdom, stands accused of four counts of converting criminal property and one count of obtaining unauthorized access to a computer with intent to commit an offense. He admitted to breaking into Zynga’s systems by impersonating one of the company’s online administrators and using the unauthorized access to send over 400 billion virtual poker chips to several Facebook accounts he set up in advance. He then sold the poker chips to other players at significantly discounted rates. The man earned around $86,000 from selling a third of his capture. Had he managed to push all of the chips on the black market, the thief would have racked up $298,000. Zynga estimated the value of the stolen poker chips at $12 million at the normal rate charged by the company. Source:

56. February 2, IDG News Service – (International) PC makers scramble in wake of Intel’s Sandy Bridge chip flaw. Some PC makers are halting sales of PCs with Sandy Bridge processors as they try to work out issues related to Intel’s faulty chipset, companies said February 2. Dell and Hewlett-Packard have removed from certain online stores desktops and laptops that paired Intel’s latest Core i5 and i7 processors with a defective chipset that included a design flaw. Dell and HP are also providing remedies such as refunds or motherboard replacements to customers who have already purchased systems. Intel the week of January 30 said a design flaw prompted a halt in shipments of its 6-series chipset code-named Cougar Point, which was used with new Core processors announced in early January. Intel said the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets could degrade over time, which could impact performance or functionality of storage devices such as hard drives. The chip maker said that flaw could delay launches of laptops by a few weeks, as the chipset is closely paired with the new Core processors. Source:

57. February 2, Softpedia – (International) Anonymous resumes anti-government DDoS attacks as Internet access returns in Egypt. As Internet connectivity was restored in Egypt, Anonymous announced its distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against governmental Web sites also resumed. Before Egyptian ISPs were ordered to cut Internet service to consumers January 27, Anonymous was engaged in DDoS attacks against, the Web site of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, and, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology portal. The group of hacktivists was also distributing tools and manuals on how to avoid the Internet filters set up by the government to prevent citizens from reaching social media Web sites. Source:

Communications Sector

58. February 2, Reuters – (National) US seizes sports piracy websites before Super Bowl. With the Super Bowl set for February 6, U.S. prosecutors said they have seized 10 popular Web sites that illegally streamed live sports and pay-per-view events on the Internet. Prosecutors said the Web sites provided links to give users easy access to other sites that host pirated, copyrighted telecasts from the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, and Ultimate Fighting Championship, which involves mixed martial arts. Prosecutors estimated that sports leagues and broadcasters lose millions of dollars annually from illegal streaming. Source: