Thursday, August 18, 2011

Complete DHS Daily Report for August 18, 2011

Daily Report

Top Stories

• The U.S. Army improperly tested new bullet-blocking plates for body armor, and cannot be sure 5 million pieces can protect U.S. troops, a Defense Department report found. – Associated Press (See item 11)

11. August 17, Associated Press – (National) Pentagon: Army improperly tested body armor plates. The U.S. Army improperly tested new bullet-blocking plates for body armor and cannot be certain that 5 million pieces of the critical battlefield equipment meet the standards to protect U.S. troops, the Defense Department's Inspector General (IG) found. The Pentagon report focused on seven Army contracts for the plates, known as ballistic inserts, awarded between 2004 and 2006 and totaling $2.5 billion. The IG's audit, carried out over a 2-year period ending in March, found the tests were incomplete, conducted with the wrong size plates, or relied on ballistic test rounds that were inconsistent. Due to the demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tests under certain temperatures and altitudes were scrapped altogether. "Consequently, the Army cannot be sure that ballistic inserts meet ... requirements," the report said. "As a result, the Army lacks assurance that 5.1 million ballistic inserts acquired through the seven contracts provide appropriate protection." The IG said it did not conduct its own tests so it could not say whether the plates were defective. The August 1 report was the fourth in a series by the IG in response to a request from a U.S. Representative. Since January 2006, the New York Democrat has pressed the military about the effectiveness of body armor after The New York Times reported 80 percent of U.S. Marines serving in Iraq who had been shot in the upper body died because of inadequate body armor. Source:

• The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sent orders August 17 directing owners of 30 dams to make repairs or conduct more detailed inspections after a rainstorm caused four dam failures. – (See item 51)

51. August 16, – (New Jersey) After 4 dams collapse in South Jersey, N.J. DEP ordering inspection, repair of 30 others. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) prepared orders, sent August 17, directing the owners of 30 dams in four South Jersey counties to make repairs or conduct more detailed inspections following a rainstorm that caused the failure of four dams in the area. Inspectors checked 45 dams in counties that received up to 11 inches of rain over the weekend of August 13 and 14. In addition to the four dams that failed, the DEP's Bureau of Dam Safety and Flood Control determined 20 more need mostly minor repairs, and 10 additional dams should be inspected more thoroughly by owners. The bureau of dam safety determined two lakes must be drained, Burnt Mill Pond in Vineland, and Sunset Lake in Monroe, Gloucester County, due to concerns about the stability of the dams that contain them. The Burnt Mill Pond Dam sustained a partial breach in the earthen embankment next to its spillway. The Sunset Lake Dam did not breach, but a sinkhole developed at its base. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

13. August 17, Wichita Eagle – (Kansas) Arrest leads to break in two bank robberies. An arrest in a restaurant robbery attempt led to a break in two Wichita, Kansas, bank robberies, police said August 16. Thanks to the recovery of a handgun with "peculiar markings," a 58-year-old woman arrested in the robbery attempt at Manna Wok, 4865 E. Harry, also is suspected in two bank robberies, a police spokesman said. It all began around 9:30 p.m. August 15 when a 59-year-old man, accompanied by two women, was locking up the restaurant. The 58-year-old woman pulled out a handgun and ordered the three back into the business, police said. The man told the women with him to run and get help. The robber fled and the man followed while talking with a 911 operator. Police later arrested the suspect at a residence in the 1500 block of South Battin. The woman had a small-caliber gun with "peculiar markings," the police spokesman said. He said the gun markings led investigators to believe she was involved in a 2009 robbery of a Fidelity Bank at 7711 E. Harry. and a 2010 robbery of a Fidelity Bank at 3525 E. Harry. Source:

14. August 17, Wall Street Journal – (National) SEC suspends 5 stocks, cites lack of reports. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) August 17 suspended trading on five stock issuers, adding to a list of companies recently barred from trading due to a lack of current and accurate information. The shares suspended belonged to Auriga Laboratories Inc., Curon Medical Inc., Goldstate Corp., OneWorld Systems Inc., and PracticeXpert Inc. Specialty pharmaceutical company Auriga, for instance, has not filed any periodic reports with the regulatory agency since the period ending March 31, 2008, according to the SEC. The suspensions mark the latest crackdown by the SEC on allegedly noncompliant firms. The agency has also recently placed heavy scrutiny on Chinese companies that have been late to file, and suspended trading in some over-the-counter stocks, citing concerns about the accuracy of publicly disclosed information. Source:

15. August 16, – (National) Phishing scam targets IRS. Phishing e-mails, feigning to be from the Internal Revenue Service, are reportedly targeting consumers with claims tax accounts have been locked and require immediate action to reopen. The e-mails, which appear to come from info manager@irs(dot)gov and support manager@irs(dot)gov, according to other news accounts, are the latest in a round of phishing attacks aimed at the IRS. The e-mails reportedly are not so sophisticated, often containing numerous typos. When reached for comment, the IRS would not discuss this specific attack, but did provide a link to a list of known e-mail scams targeting consumers under the guise of the IRS. The IRS is a relatively easy target because of its name recognition among consumers, many of whom might not readily recognize a phishing scam. In this most recent case, the phishy e-mails ask recipients to fill out and mail an attached notification back to the IRS, along with accompanying documents, such as copies of U.S.- or state-issued photo I.D.s. Similar phishing attacks reported to the IRS have been more traditional, including malicious links and/or attachments rather than also asking consumers to mail personally identifiable information to a physical address. Source:

16. August 16, Jersey Journal – (New Jersey; South Carolina) Jersey City man admits role in $40.8 million mortgage-fraud scheme. A Jersey City, New Jersey man pleaded guilty in federal court August 16 to participating in a $40.8 million mortgage-fraud scheme involving at least four New Jersey men, according to federal officials. The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was charged with serving as a "straw buyer" who caused a lender to release more than $632,000 based on a fraudulent mortgage loan application, officials said. His role as a "straw buyer" allowed three co-conspirators to purchase premier real estate in South Carolina, officials said. Co-conspirators created a fraudulent loan application and supporting documents to be submitted in the man's name, documents that gave him inflated income and assets that would secure the loan, they said. Once the loan was approved, the co-conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the $632,100 loan, giving the man $35,000 for his role, officials said. He faces up to 30 years in prison, and a $1 million fine. He agreed to forfeit $35,000, the amount he received in his role in the scheme, officials said. Source:

17. August 15, Reuters – (New York; National) Judge shuts down firms accused of homeowner scams. A Long Island, New York judge August 15 ordered the temporary shutdown of New York-based companies accused of using "fast-talking salespeople and masterfully deceptive Web sites" to defraud more than 1,000 homeowners in a multimillion dollar mortgage loan modification scam. The preliminary injunction granted by the Nassau County Supreme Court froze the operations of Homesafe America Inc. and its successor, United Legal Solutions, and prevents the co-founders from taking part in any mortgage-assistance relief services while the case unfolds. Fifteen homeowners filed suit in June against the companies, their chief officers and nearly two dozen employees, accusing them of fraud, deceptive practices and false advertising, among other claims. The complaint alleged the defendants falsely promised to modify the mortgages of lower- and middle-class homeowners for an upfront payment of several thousand dollars. But once the companies got their money, they offered little, if any, assistance. Using a network of Web sites, Homesafe took in more than $2 million in 2010 alone and, as of February, had accepted money from about 1,000 families across the country, the plaintiffs said. The homeowners seek $1.5 million in damages from Homesafe and its successor. They are also asking the court for a permanent order shutting former Homesafe employees out of mortgage-related businesses. Source:

Information Technology Sector

39. August 17, CNET – (International) Report: More cyberattacks hitting social networks. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting social networks, prompting users to take more steps to protect their online privacy, according to a Webroot study released August 16. In a survey of 4,000 social network users in the United States., England, and Australia, Webroot found the number of people hit by Koobface and other social networking malware rose to 18 percent this year from 13 percent last year, and 8 percent in 2009. In the United Kingdom specifically, the number of social networks hit by attacks climbed to 15 percent this year from 12 percent last year, and 6 percent the prior year. One notable attack that has grown more popular is the "friend in distress" scam in which a cybercrook claims to be a friend stuck in a foreign country in need of money. In the United States, this type of online con job was directed toward 14 percent of those polled this year, compared with just 2 percent in 2009, Webroot reported. Source:

40. August 17, SC Magazine UK – (International) Security labs record huge surge in spam over past week. A rise in spam has been noted by two security labs in the past week. M86 Security noted a huge surge of malicious spam that it said far exceeds anything it has seen over the past 2 years. Its research found that last week, malicious spam made up at least 13 percent of the total spam volume, which it said was unusual, however that figure spiked to 24 percent August 16. Security vendor Commtouch also noted a 500 percent increase spike in the level of spam seen. It also noted that most of the spam contained fake shipping confirmations that often told the recipient that they had an undelivered package and had to fill in an attached file. M86 Security said the majority of the malicious spam comes from the Cutwail botnet, although Festi and Asprox are among the other contributors. It also said the malware is attached within a compressed ZIP archive, and is a Trojan that downloads additional malware including fake anti-virus, SpyEye, and the Cutwail spambot itself. Source:

41. August 16, DarkReading – (International) Botnets and Google Dorks: A new recipe for hacking. Google, hackers have discovered, is good at finding Web-facing security vulnerabilities. But searching for one vulnerability at a time can be slow — so it is time to automate. Attackers are using botnets and Google "dorks" — clearly-defined search parameters — to speed the process of finding exploitable flaws on the Internet, according to a report issued August 16 by researchers at Imperva."What the hackers are doing is building an army of zombies to perform automated cyber reconnaissance," said an Imperva senior security strategist. "This makes the Google search much more efficient, and it also makes it harder to detect, because each zombie only issues two to four queries per minute, which is not enough to raise a red flag. Automating the query and result parsing enables the attacker to issue a large number of queries, examine all the returned results, and get a filtered list of potentially exploitable sites in a very short time and with minimal effort," the report states. One step enterprises can take is simply to Google themselves for vulnerabilities, using dorks or other tools to help locate the search engine-facing flaws they may be presenting to hackers. Source:

42. August 16, DarkReading – (International) Internet Explorer 9 best at catching socially engineered malware. When it comes to socially engineered malware protection, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) wins hands down over other browsers, according to a new report from independent testing organization NSS Labs. IE9 detected 96 percent of malicious links worldwide via its SmartScreen URL reputation feature, and another 3.2 percent when its Application Reputation feature was enabled. Next was Google Chrome 12, which caught 13.2 percent of the threats; Apple Safari 5, which detected 7.6 percent; Mozilla Firefox 4, which also detected 7.6 percent; and Opera 11, which found 6.1 percent. Malware from Web sites is one of the three main threat vectors for browsers; phishing attacks and exploits are the other two. The president and CEO of NSS Labs said the new test results demonstrate that IE9 is best instopping malware. "This was a test of malware tricking users," he said. "It would not becorrect to say that this says IE is the safest browser. It would be correct to say it stops more malware [than other browsers]." NSS Labs also plans to test all of the browser brands in stopping phishing and exploits. Source:

Communications Sector

Nothing to report.