Monday, June 6, 2011

Complete DHS Daily Report for June 6, 2011

Daily Report

Top Stories

• The Union City Daily Messenger reports two firefighters were injured and 15 homes in Obion, Tennessee were evacuated when a farm truck carrying toxic ammonium nitrate caught fire. (See item 6)

6. June 2, Union City Daily Messenger – (Tennessee) Chemical fire erupts in Glass community; 2 firefighters airlifted. Two firefighters had to be airlifted to Memphis, Tennessee, and 15 houses in the Glass community west of Obion had to be evacuated June 1 when a farm truck pulling a spreader buggy filled with ammonium nitrate caught fire, spreading toxic fumes in the area. Two firefighters with the Obion Volunteer Fire Department were transported by helicopter to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after they were overcome by fumes from the ammonium nitrate, according to the Obion fire chief. Ammonium nitrate is used as a nitrogen fertilizer, but is also highly combustible and very toxic. The man had pulled off into the field when it is suspected a mechanical fire broke out in the truck, causing the ammonium nitrate to catch fire, a spokesman said. A reported explosion at the scene is suspected to have been caused by the tires blowing up. Also on the scene in addition to seven firefighters from Obion were members of the Obion County Rescue Squad, Obion County Sheriff’s Department, and Hornbeak Fire Department. Source:

• According to; a new report found that more than half of Texas is suffering from drought, and that farmers and ranchers’ losses could top $4 billion if it doesn’t abate soon. (See item 20)

20. June 2,, Reuters and Associated Press – (Texas; Oklahoma) Half of Texas now under severe drought. A drought tightened its grip on Texas over the last week with more than half the state now suffering the most extreme level of drought measured by climatologists. A report released June 2 from a consortium of national climate experts said over the last week, Texas saw the highest levels of drought — rated as “exceptional” — jump from 43.97 percent of the state to 50.65 percent of the state. Meanwhile, to the north in Oklahoma, another key farming and ranching state, about 30 percent of the state continued to suffer severe and exceptional drought levels. The drought conditions have ravaged the region, sparking thousands of wildfires, drying up grazing land needed for cattle, and ruining thousands of acres of wheat and other crops. Texas farmers and ranchers have already lost an estimated $1.5 billion, and officials said if the drought continues into June, losses for the nation’s second largest agriculture producer will top $4 billion, making it the costliest season on record. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

9. June 3, UK Guardian – (International) Watford bank siege: police arrest second man. Detectives June 3 arrested a second man over a high street bank bomb alert which sparked a 3-hour standoff with armed police in Watford, England. The suspect was held on suspicion of conspiracy to steal in connection with the incident at the Co-operative bank June 2, Hertfordshire police said. Police confirmed another man farrested immediately after the standoff was a Co-operative bank employee. Officers are questioning him on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. Watford town center was brought to a standstill when a man walked into the bank on Market Street at about 10 a.m. June 2, claiming to be carrying a bomb and threatening to blow up the building. Armed police and military bomb disposal experts went to the scene before the man gave himself up. Tests revealed the man’s device was harmless. Police stressed there was no suggestion that the incident was linked to terrorist activity. Source:

10. June 2, Toms River Patch – (New Jersey) 2 residents indicted for alleged roles in mortgage fraud scheme. A Toms River, New Jersey man is among 12 people indicted by a Bergen County grand jury for allegedly engaging in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in $3 million worth of loans in default, authorities said. The man faces multiple charges as part of a 25-count indictment handed up in connection with an alleged scheme at Paragon Federal Credit Union in Montvale, according to a release from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Authorities claim the man, the owner of Lighthouse Appraisals LLC of Toms River, conspired with others to perform property appraisals with pre-determined values that Paragon then used to approve loans for customers who otherwise would have not met income and/or property value requirements. Independent appraisers later hired to do retroactive property reports found the suspect’s appraisals were “grossly inflated,” authorities said. He was charged with: one count of theft by deception; five counts of forgery; one count of conspiracy to commit theft by deception; one count of financial facilitation of criminal activity; and one count of misconduct by a corporate official. Source:

11. June 2, Associated Press – (Arkansas) Grocery chain executive guilty of bank fraud. The former chief financial officer of grocery wholesale co-op Affiliated Foods Southwest in Little Rock, Arkansas, was convicted June 2 of bank fraud, in what prosecutors allege was a scheme to cover up the defunct company’s losses. The man was found guilty of three counts now faces up to 30 years in prison for each count, according to a spokeswoman. One count accused the man of conspiring to commit bank fraud, another of adding and abetting bank fraud by taking part in a check-kiting scheme, and the third with aiding and abetting a false statement to a financial institution. Affiliated Foods was a wholesale cooperative that supplied hundreds of member grocery stores throughout the South. It also owned 45 stores in Arkansas and Texas, according to court documents. Its bankruptcy wiped out about $34 million in member investments. Filings in bankruptcy court showed that more than 60 investors lost at least $100,000. Source:

12. June 2, Bloomberg – (International) Former Xinhua Finance chief Loretta Fredy Bush pleads not guilty to fraud. The former chief executive officer of Xinhua Finance Ltd., accused of taking part in a $50 million insider-trading scheme, said June 2 she is not guilty of defrauding investors and lying to regulators. She pleaded not guilty June 2 in federal court in Washington D.C. to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and making false statements. Two former Xinhua board members indicted with the woman pleaded not guilty in May. The three are accused of using entities to disguise the sale of shares in China-based Xinhua from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and investors, and engaging in insider trading, according to the indictment. They are also accused of manipulating the company’s balance sheet to avoid impairment charges. Source:

Information Technology

40. June 3, Reuters – (International) Hackers attack another Sony network; post data on 1 million users. Hackers broke into Sony Corp’s computer networks and accessed the information of more than 1 million customers to show the vulnerability of the electronic giant’s systems, the latest of several security breaches undermining confidence in the company. LulzSec, a group that claims attacks on PBS television and, said it broke into servers that run Sony Pictures Entertainment Web sites. It published the names, birth dates, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers, and passwords of thousands of people who had entered contests promoted by Sony. The security breach is the latest cyber attack against high-profile firms, including defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and Google. LulzSec’s claims came as Sony executives were trying to reassure U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on data security in Washington, D.C. about their efforts to safeguard the company’s computer networks, which suffered the biggest security breach in history in April. Sony said it was investigating the breach claimed by LulzSec and declined to elaborate. Reuters confirmed the authenticity of the data on several contestants that LulzSec said it had published. Source:

41. June 3, IDG News Service – (International) Hotmail and Yahoo users also victims of targeted attacks. Web mail users at Yahoo and Hotmail have been hit with the same kind of targeted attacks that were disclosed earlier the week of May 30 by Google, according to security software vendor Trend Micro. Trend Micro described two similar attacks against Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Hotmail in a blog post, published June 2. “It’s an ongoing issue for more than just Gmail,” a senior threat researcher with Trend Micro said. He believes Facebook accounts have also been used to spread similar attacks. Google made headlines June 1 after revealing several hundred Gmail users — including government officials, activists, and journalists — had been the victims of targeted spearphishing attacks. Google mentioned phishing on June 1, but the criminals have been using other attacks too. In March, Google said hackers were taking advantage of a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows software to launch politically motivated hacks against activists. Corporate networks have been under attack for years, but hackers now see personal Web mail accounts as a way to get information that can help them sneak into computers that would otherwise be locked down. Source:

42. June 3, The Register – (International) Admin: Gmail phishers stalked victims for months. Spear phishers who targeted the personal Gmail accounts of senior U.S. government officials painstakingly monitored incoming and outgoing e-mail for almost a year, a researcher who helped uncover the campaign said. In some cases, attackers sent victims e-mails designed to originate from friends or colleagues in hopes of getting responses detailing the targets’ schedules, contacts, and job responsibilities, said a Washington, D.C.-based system administrator who does security research on the side. The attackers also employed Web-based scripts that caused earlier versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser to divulge detailed data about the software used by the compromised account holder. The ultimate goal, she speculated, was to assemble an arsenal of personal information that could be used in future social-engineering attacks against the targets, who also included undisclosed Chinese political activists, military personnel, and journalists. On June 1, Google said it disrupted the phishing campaign and credited the system administrator for help in uncovering the elaborate scheme. But based on her account, it appears the disruption came only after personally identifiable information from some victims had been secretly harvested for as long as 9 months. Source:

Communications Sector

43. June 3, Dickinson Press – (North Dakota) Radio tower collapses as butte shifts. Two local radio stations went off the air the evening of June 1 when their broadcasting tower northeast of Dickinson, North Dakota collapsed after the ground beneath it shifted, a Clear Channel Radio business manager said. KCAD and KZRX will be back on the air when a temporary tower is in place, he said. The incident is believed to have been caused by saturated soil, the business manager noted. Parts of the tower landed on a nearby transmitter building, causing minor damage. The tower is not salvageable, since it broke into several parts on its way down, he said. A new communications tower is being erected amongst the others on the butte. The hope is that the new communications tower will be up by the end of June. Source:

For more stories, see items 41 and 42 above in Information Technology