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Intel Briefing – December 2012

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“USPS delivery problem” spam leads to malware.
Help Net Security reported November 6 that fake emails seemingly coming from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) telling customers that they have failed to deliver packages on time actually contain a downloader trojan. Hoax-Slayer warned that the USPS logo, delivery bar code, and shipping numbers make the spoofed notification look rather legitimate. However, the link that supposedly takes users to a printable shipping label with instructions to take it to the nearest “UPS” office will actually lead users to a compromised Web site that will automatically download a file named Shipping_Label_USPS.zip. At the time when the spam campaign was first spotted the Trojan had an extremely low detection rate.

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Deadly ‘superbug’ found in water treatment plants.
Researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that at least four water treatment plants in the United States contain superbugs, the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus, Medical Daily reported November 8. The concern is that the plants are putting sewage workers at risk for contracting the bacteria, and that plants that do not treat water with chlorine may be leaving the most lethal strains. The four treatment plants in the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest were treated effluent, in which wastewater with solids and some other impure substances, is used to irrigate and fertilize fields. The researchers wanted to discover whether MRSA could be spreading in that manner. The researchers found that 83 percent of the sewage in the plant was infected with the bacteria, and that 93 percent of MRSA was resistant to two or more antibiotics.

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Fireplaces and inserts recalled by Monessen Hearth Systems due to fire risk.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Monessen Hearth Systems, November 8 announced a voluntary recall of about 15,000 Signature Command Controlled Direct and B-Vent Gas Fireplaces and Inserts. A control component in the fireplaces and inserts can prevent the unit from lighting though gas continues to flow, posing a fire hazard. The units were sold at hearth dealers and distributors nationwide between October 2011 and October 2012. Consumers should immediately stop using and turn off the fireplace using the master control switch on the command center which is located inside the control door.

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Cleanup of most contaminated U.S. groundwater sites unlikely for many decades.
At least 126,000 sites across the United States have contaminated groundwater that requires remediation, and about 10 percent of these sites are considered “complex,” meaning restoration is unlikely to be achieved in the next 50 to 100 years due to technological limitations, said a new report from the National Research Council reported on by the Homeland Security News Wire November 12. The report adds that the estimated cost of complete cleanup at these sites ranges from $110 billion to $127 billion, but that both the number of sites and costs are likely underestimates.

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Authorities recover $1.5 million in stolen copper.
Authorities recovered $1.5 million in copper plates stolen from the Asarco plant in Hayden, Arizona, the Associated Press reported November 13. An Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman said the case began in late September with the recovery of $300,000 in copper plates that were found in the back of a commercial vehicle during a traffic stop and later at a warehouse in Marana. The spokesman said the warehouse was supplying copper to a scrap metal yard in the Los Angeles area and that federal authorities moved to stop the shipment of those items to China.
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Posted by FanSite on Dec 1st, 2012 and filed under Intel Brief. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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