National Infrastructure Protection Center
NIPC Daily Open Source Report for 30 December 2002

Daily Overview

.       SecuriTeam reports that certain Cisco products containing
support for the Secure Shell (SSH) server are vulnerable to a Denial of
Service (DoS) if the SSH server is enabled on the device.  (See item 15)

.       CNN reports poultry farms in Southern California have been
quarantined and 100,000 chickens destroyed after officials detected a
fast-spreading poultry disease called Exotic Newcastle Disease. (See
item 8)

.       MSNBC reports scientists are amazed by the scale and sweep of
the ecological impact of West Nile virus; the effects on wildlife have
been far worse than on humans.  (See item 16)

.       CNN reports that Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil
producer, has begun importing gasoline from neighboring Brazil; the
ongoing strike, coupled with fears of a war in the Middle East, has
pushed oil prices above $30 a barrel. (See item 5).  In related stories,
US refinery and trucking interests are being effected by the oil workers
strike in Venezuela.  (See Items 6 and 7) 

.       The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public's
assistance in determining the whereabouts of five individuals believed
to have entered the United States illegally on or about December 24,
2002. (See item 11)

Editor's Note: Beginning January 6, 2003, the NIPC Daily Open Source
Report will be aligned to cover the critical infrastructure sectors as
identified in the National Strategy for Homeland Security.  Currently
covered sectors, which were set forth in Presidential Decision Directive
63, are included in the new format.  The new Sector alignment will be as
follows: Agriculture, Food, Water, Public Health, Emergency Services,
Government, Defense Industrial Base, Information and Telecommunications,
Energy (to include Electric Power, and Oil and Gas), Transportation,
Banking and Finance, Chemical Industry and Postal and Shipping.  Readers
wishing to comment on the contents or suggest additional topics and
sources should contact Melissa Conaty at 202-324-0354 or Kerry J.
Butterfield at 202-324-1131.  Requests for adding or dropping
distribution to the NIPC Daily Open Source Report should be made through
the Watch and Warning Unit at [EMAIL PROTECTED] 

NIPC Daily Report Fast Jump [click to jump to section of interest]
Banking & Finance

Gas & Oil

Emergency Law Enforcement

Government Operations
Information Technology
Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities

Internet Alert Dashboard
NIPC Information

Power Sector

1.      December 26, PRNewswire - Nine Mile Point Units One and Two back
in service.  In Oswego, NY, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Units One
and Two were both returned to service yesterday.  Unit One was placed
back on the grid at 12:19 a.m. and is at full power.  Unit Two returned
to service at 10:30 p.m. and is proceeding toward a return to full
power.  Nine Mile One was taken out of service on December 5, 2002 for a
planned outage in order to identify and make repairs to the Reactor
Building Closed Loop Cooling System, a system which uses demineralized
water to cool components such as pumps, motors and air coolers.  Nine
Mile Two automatically shut down on December 16, 2002 due to a problem
with the temperature controller on the plant's generator.  Additional
maintenance was performed on both units while they were shut down.
Constellation Energy Group (NYSE: CEG) owns 82 percent of Nine Mile
Point Unit 2 and 100 percent of Unit 1.  The electricity generated by
the reactors is enough to meet the needs of more than a half-million
homes in the Northeast United States.  Source:

2.      December 26, Business Wire - ConEdison Solutions to donate
83,000 watts of wind power on New Year's Eve.  Midnight on New Year's
Eve, ConEdison Solutions, a leading energy service provider, will donate
to the New York State power grid 83,000 watts of electricity generated
by an upstate wind farm - an amount equal to the power used to light the
New Year's Eve ball and 2003 numerals in Times Square.  This
electricity, equivalent to the wattage needed to power 10 large homes or
100 apartments, will be provided in partnership with Community Energy,
Inc. and certified as Green-e compliant by the Center for Resource
Solutions.  The New Wind Energy is the product of Community Energy,
Inc., and supplied by the recently dedicated 30-megawatt wind power farm
in Fenner, NY, developed and owned by CHI Energy, Inc.  Community Energy
was founded in 1999 to expand the market for premium, clean energy,
produced with no fuel or pollution.  Source:

Current Electricity Sector Threat Alert Levels:  Physical: ELEVATED,
Scale:  Low, Guarded, Elevated, High, Severe   [Source: ISAC for the
Electricity Sector (ES-ISAC) -]

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Banking and Finance Sector

Nothing to report.

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Transportation Sector

3.      December 28, Associated Press - Philadelphia opens military
seaport.  The Port of Philadelphia made its debut Saturday as a military
seaport which is expected to help the city compete for cargo business
and federal funding.  The port won the military seaport designation,
which allows for military cargo to be shipped through the port, in
October after three years of planning by port officials and the Delaware
River Maritime Enterprise Council.  The lack of military certification
had long hurt the port, which is in competition with seaports in New
York and Norfolk, VA, for cargo business and federal funds for port
improvement.  Source: 

4.      December 27, Federal Register - Security zones for liquefied
hazardous gas vessels proposed.  The Federal Register published notice
of proposed rulemaking Friday, which would establish Safety Zones around
and under all liquefied hazardous gas (LHG) tank vessels located on San
Pedro Bay, California, in and near the ports of Los Angeles and Long
Beach, and separately around tanker ships in Puget Sound, WA.  These
proposed security zones are needed for national security reasons to
protect the public and ports from potential subversive acts.  Entry into
these zones will be prohibited unless specifically authorized by the
Captain of the Port. Sources: and

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Gas and Oil Sector

5.      December 29, CNN - Venezuela importing gas to ease oil strike.
Opponents of embattled President Hugo Chavez planned another day of
demonstrations Sunday as Venezuela, one of the world's largest oil
producers, began importing gasoline to break an oil workers' strike.
The first shipment arrived Saturday from neighboring Brazil.  The strike
has led to mile-long gas lines in Caracas, the capital of the world's
fifth largest oil exporter, and other cities.  Before the strike,
Venezuela produced about 3 million barrels of oil a day.  Since the
walkout began, government officials said, production dropped to 200,000
barrels a day before climbing back up to its current rate of between
600,000 and 700,000 barrels per day.  Government officials said the
Puerto la Cruz refinery east of Caracas was running at about 70 percent
of its capacity, but the refinery is one of Venezuela's smallest.
Striking workers said the government lacks the manpower to resume normal
production levels.  Daily demonstrations aimed at forcing him to resign
have paralyzed Venezuela's oil industry, which provides about 15 percent
of U.S. oil imports.  The general strike is costing Venezuela about $50
million a day in lost oil revenue.  The strike, coupled with fears of a
war in the Middle East, has pushed oil prices above $30 a barrel.

6.      December 27, Reuters - Murphy Oil Co. plans to cut production at
its Meraux, Louisiana, refinery in January by about 15,000 barrels per
day (bpd), Mike Hulse, president of refining and marketing, told Reuters
on Friday.  The cuts are being made at the 95,000 bpd refinery because
it costs too much to replace oil the company had purchased but is not
receiving from Venezuela's national oil company, "The reason we're
cutting is not because we're not getting our purchases from Venezuela,"
Hulse said.  "There is plenty of oil out there to replace it.  It's too
expensive to buy."  Source: 

7.      December 28, Miami Herald - Truckers on edge as fuel costs
surge. The crisis in Venezuela is reverberating with South Florida
truckers, shippers and distributors as wholesale diesel prices hit a
two-year high.  Since Dec. 2, diesel prices have jumped 18 percent. The
volatility in fuel prices hits in two ways.  First, customers generally
require a price quote days before fuel is delivered.  Second, the rise
in fuel prices leads to an increase in the amount of money owed
customers.  The price that distributors and others pay for diesel fuel
has climbed to about 91 cents a gallon, up from a low of 48.59 cents in
January. In the third quarter of 1999, when fuel prices were $1.17 a
gallon, 340 trucking firms went under.  A year later, with the price
$1.506, 1,320 firms collapsed, according to association statistics.  In
this year's third quarter, with the price at $1.347 a gallon, 639
failed. Source:

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Telecommunications Sector

Nothing to report.

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Food Sector

8.      December 27, CNN - Poultry destroyed, quarantined in Southern
California.  Poultry farms in southern California have been quarantined
and 100,000 chickens destroyed after officials detected a fast-spreading
poultry disease.  While the malady, called Exotic Newcastle Disease,
isn't harmful to humans, it could be devastating to the poultry industry
because it's deadly to birds.  To prevent it from spreading, the
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) euthanized 100,000
chickens at a farm in western Riverside County.  A regional quarantine
is in effect for Los Angeles County and western sections of Riverside
and San Bernardino counties.  "Finding it in a commercial flock is a
first in California since 1974," U.S. Department of Agriculture
spokesman Larry Hawkins told the AP.  "It's not only serious because
there is a direct threat to the poultry industry in California, but
because it also brings about quarantines from our trading partners."  In
the 1970s, an outbreak in California prompted the destruction of nearly
12 million chickens, with nearly $56 million spent on eradication
efforts.  While most of California's poultry industry is in the Central
Valley between Sacramento and Bakersfield, the California Poultry
Federation says about 9 million egg-laying hens are in the quarantined
area, or about 60 percent of the egg-laying chickens in the state.  The
state is the nation's No. 3 egg producer.  Because the disease cannot be
transmitted to humans, eggs are being sanitized and allowed to pass
through the quarantine zone, the AP reports.  Source: 

9.      December 27, Associated Press - Canned kale, turnip greens
recalled.  A South Carolina company is recalling 300,000 cans of kale
and turnip greens because they may be contaminated with salmonella or
other bacteria.  Recalled are the Glory Foods brand of kale and turnip
greens sold in 27-ounce cans throughout the country but primarily along
the East Coast, said manufacturer McCall Farms of Effingham, S.C.  No
illnesses have been reported from the contamination, which may include
salmonella and staph bacteria, McCall Farms said.  The contamination
came to light when a major grocery chain spotted swollen cans in a
warehouse and alerted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Source:

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Water Sector

10.     December 27, Australian (Australia) - Dung beetle may clean
water.  Researchers believe a beetle that lives on cow dung is the key
to preventing life-threatening contamination of water.  Bubas Bison - a
variety of dung beetle - can be used to cut down the levels of
Cryptosporidium, a dangerous parasite easily washed into water supplies.
Dung beetles eat fresh dung and also dig tunnels up to half a meter deep
to bury dung balls in which they lay eggs.  Experiments in Europe with
other beetle species found Cryptosporidium spores were killed when eaten
by beetles.  Currently researchers in Australia are testing the efficacy
of Dung beetles in Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island where they
have released 80,000 beetles in the past 12 months.  Source:,5744,5751246%25

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Chemical Sector

Nothing to report.

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Emergency Law Enforcement Sector

11.     December 29, Federal Bureau of Investigation - The Federal
Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public's assistance in
determining the whereabouts of the following individuals: ABID NORAIZ
1983; AKBAR JAMAL, DOB NOVEMBER 1, 1974.  These individuals, whose names
and dates of birth may be fictitious, are believed to have entered the
United States illegally on or about December 24, 2002. Although the FBI
has no specific information that these individuals are connected to any
potential terrorist activities, based upon information developed in the
course of on-going investigations, the FBI would like to locate and
question these persons. The FBI has been working with Homeland Security
Agencies (U.S. Customs, INS, TSA) to locate these individuals. The above
information has also been disseminated to the appropriate law
enforcement agencies around the United States and throughout the world.
Anyone with any information pertaining to these individuals is asked to
contact their nearest FBI office. Photographs of these individuals can
be found on the FBI's web site at Source:

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Government Operations Sector

12.     December 27, New York Times - Meeting daily, U.S. nerve center
prepares for terrorists.  For up to an hour each day in what is blandly
called "the commander's situational awareness meeting," Northern
Command's General Eberhart asks representatives of each of the 14
agencies - a roster that also includes the State Department, the
National Security Agency, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration -
for updates from their experts, and advice on what he should do if the
worst happens.  For now, officials say, the daily discussion is
speculative: imagining and preparing for whatever terrorists might
unleash within American borders.  While it has few troops under its
direct control, the command now has a staff of about 500 people, both
military and civilian.  The Command can draw on tens of thousands of
troops in a matter of hours if there is a domestic emergency demanding
the Pentagon's response.  Source: 

13.     December 27, Washington Post - Help still wanted: Arabic
linguists.  What looked like a gusher of language assistance 15 months
ago quickly slowed to a small but steady stream of new hires, government
officials say.  Hiring linguists qualified in Middle Eastern languages
has taken time, especially for jobs that carry national security
clearances and require extensive background investigations.  The NSA has
hired more than 800 people this year, but needs many more and hopes to
bring in nearly twice as many in 2003.  The FBI has hired nearly 300
linguists, with just over 100 of them being Arabic speakers.  The bureau
still has only a handful of agents who speak Arabic, probably fewer than
25, officials said.  New hires who handle classified material must
undergo a background investigation that can last six months to a year,
creating a long lag time for bringing people into jobs.  Source: 

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Information Technology Sector

14.     December 27, CNET - Online sales raise hopes.  A strong
season for Web stores is expected to bode well for the coming year in
e-commerce, say U.S. on-line retailers and analysts, even as off-line
retailers weather their worst holiday sales in decades.  From Nov. 25 to
Christmas Day, shoppers spent $7.9 billion (U.S.), up 23 per cent from
the comparable period last year, reported Thursday.
Spending on the last weekend before Christmas Day was $297.6--million,
up by 92 per cent, compared with the same weekend last year.  "There are
more people online than ever before, and more of those people are
spending money online," said Lisa Strand, director and chief analyst
with Nielsen/NetRatings.  "The sheer number of people buying online this
year was extraordinary," said Dan Hess, vice president of comScore
Networks.  Increasing broadband penetration would also contribute to an
e-commerce rebound, with 27 per cent of home Internet users connecting
with a high-speed connection, said Hess.  Source:

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Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities

15.     December 26, SecuriTeam - Cisco Vulnerable to SSH Malformed
Packet Vulnerabilities.  Certain Cisco products containing support for
the Secure Shell (SSH) server are vulnerable to a Denial of Service
(DoS) if the SSH server is enabled on the device.  A malformed SSH
packet directed at the affected device can cause a reload of the device.
The vulnerability can be exploited to make an affected product
unavailable for several minutes while the device reloads.  Once it has
resumed normal processing, the device is still vulnerable and can be
forced to reload repeatedly.  A table listing all the versions being
affected, and their available fixes can be found at
e.  Upgrades may be obtained through Cisco's website at  Workarounds consist of
disabling the SSH server, removing SSH as a remote access method,
permitting only trusted hosts to connect to the server, and blocking SSH
traffic to the device completely via external mechanisms.  Source:

Internet Alert Dashboard
Current Alert Levels

Internet Security Systems 
AlertCon: 1 out of 4
Security Focus ThreatCon: 1 out of 4

Last Changed: 26 December 2002  Last Changed: 21 December 2002
Current Virus and Port Attacks
Virus:  #1 Virus in USA:   PE_FUNLOVE.4099
Source:, Trend World Micro Virus
Tracking Center [Infected Computers, North America, Past 24 hours, #1 in
United States]
Top 10 Target Ports     137(netbios-ns); 80 (http); 1433(ms-sql-s);
445(microsoft-ds); 21(ftp); 443(https); 53(domain); 4662;
139(netbios-ssn); 1524(ingreslock)
Source:; Internet Storm Center

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General Information

16.     December 28, MSNBC - Widening toll of the West Nile virus.  Now
scientists are beginning to take stock of West Nile virus's North
American invasion, and they are taken aback by the scale and sweep of
its ecological impact.  While the human toll dominated the nation's
attention this year - the virus killed at least 241 people and infected
many thousands more - the effects on wildlife were far worse.  The virus
swept westward with alarming rapidity this year, appearing in almost
every state in the nation - an astonishing expansion for a bug that had
never been seen in the Western Hemisphere until three years ago.
Equally unexpected, nearly 200 species of birds, reptiles and mammals
fell ill from West Nile this year, including rabbits and reindeer,
pelicans and bats, even a few dogs and cats.  The virus also slammed
dozens of exotic species in about 100 U.S. zoos, killing cockatiels,
emus, seals, flamingos and penguins. Florida alligator farms lost more
than 200 of the reptiles.  "In my years of working, I've never seen a
mosquito-borne virus spread so quickly," said Robert G. McLean with the
Agriculture Department's National Wildlife Research Center in Fort
Collins, Colo.  Source: 

17.     December 27, Manchester Online (United Kingdom) -
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) test developed.  Manchester Royal
Infirmary has developed a 10-minute test that can detect the human
version of mad cow disease (CJD) up to five years before symptoms
develop.  The test already appears to work in cattle by detecting subtle
changes in the heart rate linked to breathing, and a leading professor
has called for everyone in the UK to be tested.  If cleared by the
government it could prove an easy and effective way of screening large
number of patients.  CJD has killed 117 people, in the UK, since 1995.
Some experts believe the death toll could reach 100,000.  Source:

18.     December 27, Washington Post - 46 reported killed as car bombs
hit Chechen capital.  Suicide bombers today crashed two vehicles loaded
with more than a ton and a half of explosives into the courtyard of the
Russian government headquarters in the Chechen capital of Grozny,
killing 46 people and wounding at least 76.  At least 200 people were
inside the new four-story building in Grozny's center when a truck and a
car loaded with about 1.5 tons of TNT rammed through the fence that
surrounds it.  Two explosions reduced the government's
headquarters-which Russian officials had called a symbol of the peace
taking hold in Chechnya-to a windowless hulk indistinguishable from the
rest of the structures in the ruined city of an estimated 500,000
people.  Source:

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NIPC Products & Contact Information

The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) serves as a
national critical infrastructure threat assessment, warning,
vulnerability, and law enforcement investigation and response entity.
The NIPC provides timely warnings of international threats,
comprehensive analysis and law enforcement investigation and response.
The NIPC provides a range of bulletins and advisories of interest to
information system security and professionals and those involved in
protecting public and private infrastructures.  By visiting the NIPC
web-site (, one can quickly access any of the
following NIPC products:

2002 NIPC Advisories - Advisories address significant threat or incident
information that suggests a change in readiness posture, protective
options and/or response.

2002 NIPC Alerts - Alerts address major threat or incident information
addressing imminent or in-progress attacks targeting specific national
networks or critical infrastructures.

2002 NIPC Information Bulletins - Information Bulletins communicate
issues that pertain to the critical national infrastructure and are for
informational purposes only.

2002 NIPC CyberNotes - CyberNotes is published to support security and
information system professionals with timely information on cyber
vulnerabilities, malicious scripts, information security trends, virus
information, and other critical infrastructure-related best practices. 

2002 NIPC Highlights - The NIPC Highlights are published on a monthly
basis to inform policy and/or decision makers of current events,
incidents, developments, and trends related to Critical Infrastructure
Protection (CIP).  Highlights seeks to provide policy and/or decision
makers with value-added insight by synthesizing all source information
to provide the most detailed, accurate, and timely reporting on
potentially actionable CIP matters.

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