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May 11, 2013
Threat Journal is a weekly supplement to the AlertsUSA National Threat
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WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP
Now Published Each Saturday Afternoon
 
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DHS/FBI Warn of Attacks on Banks
May 6, 2013
 
What You Need to Know

On Monday of this week, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via a text message to their cell phones that the Department of Homeland Security had issued an alert warning that Middle East and N. Africa hackers intended to launch cyberattacks on high-profile USGOV agencies, banks and company computer systems. Additionally, subscribers were also warned that multiple U.S. banks & financial institutions were warning of poss online banking problems beginning on Tues and of the need to keep some cash on hand in case these efforts resulted in a takedown of credit card processing capability.

 
11:17 AM
DHS warning Mid East & N. Africa hackers to launch attacks this week on high-profile USGOV agencies, banks and company computer systems & websites. Developing…

10:00 PM
ALERT: Multiple U.S. banks & financial inst warning of poss online banking probs on 5/7, poss longer. Rel to earlier DHS warning. Consider having cash backup.

10:36 PM
Internet attacks up over 80%. AlertsUSA users can monitor trend by using the following link: http://www.akamai.com/html/technology/dataviz1.html .

In addition, on Monday of this week the FBI issued what is known as a Liaison Alert providing some indicators as to how attacks on U.S. financial institutions take place as well as some of the intrusion points.

Included as part of the alert was a list of over 7500 IP addresses, resolving to hosts in 111 countries, that have been used to launch attacks on U.S. financial institutions since September of last year. The FBI is distributing the indicators, as well as the list of IP addresses, in order to help victims identify and remove malicious code as well as better enable network defense activities and reduce the risk of similar attacks in the future.

 
Read the FBI Alert Here (PDF)
Download the IP Address List Here (MS Excel CSV)

 

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Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup May Be Too Dangerous
May 9, 2013
 
What You Need to Know

The Department of Energy has revealed that the decades long effort at developing a way to deal with over 200 million liters of highly radioactive sludge at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which sites on the Columbia River in Washington State, may have hit a show-stopping snag.

In addition to Threat Journal's recent reports on the increasing number of tanks at the storage facility beginning to leak considerable amounts of radioactive materials, DOE says that the actual process being developed to vitrify the waste and store it in stainless steel–encased glass logs may itself be catastrophically dangerous.

A Scientific American article, based on government reports and information released by whistle blowers, indicates that the process of moving the radioactive sludge actually hastens the corrosion of the storage tanks and transfer piping, as well as increases the potential for chain reactions and hydrogen explosions.

According to Tom Carpenter, executive director of the watchdog group Hanford Challenge, the Department of Energy now admits that the way the vitrification plant is currently designed poses unacceptable risks. So work at the facility has slowed to a snails pace.

The short of it is that no one knows what to do. And as engineers try and devise a new way to treat the material, after decades of efforts before them, the storage tanks continue to corrode and leak radioactive materials.

There are 177 tanks on the reservation. All were built between 1943 and 1986 and most intended for only about a 20-year life span. While the Scientific American article states only six of the tanks are leaking, there are reports that that number is actually as high as 60.

The tanks hold a mix of every element in the periodic table, including an estimated half ton of plutonium, various uranium isotopes and at least 44 other radionuclides. The waste is also physically hot as well as laced with numerous toxic and corrosive chemicals and heavy metals that threaten the integrity of the pipes and tanks carrying the waste, adding to the risk of leakage.


Look Who's Talking

"This year, not only has the AlertsUSA system been invaluable to me in the magnification of my work responsibilities in the field of Security Coordination, and Implementation of Protective Measures for NASA., but has had a positive impact on efforts to make the war on terrorism a resounding success.

I CANNOT imagine working a day without this invaluable service! "

Derace D. Owens, Chief Of Security, NASA Facility

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MAP OF OKINAWA - ALLOW IMAGES
 
China Now Demands Return of Okinawa
May 8, 2013
 
What You Need to Know

As the U.S. begins placing a greater emphasis on their military presence in the Western Pacific, China is becoming increasingly agitated with the moves and is stepping up their own efforts at creating a stronger foothold in the region.

Regular readers of Threat Journal have been kept well informed about China's recent claims on ownership of more than 75% of the S. China Sea, including islands and waters long held and administered by such nations as Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia. Add to this China's increasingly heated disagreement with Japan over ownership of islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku (see this, this and this)

This week China upped increased the ante considerably and is now demanding sovereignty over the southern Japanese Ryukyu Islands, of which Okinawa is the largest, and their intended target. And they're serious. Currently Okinawa hosts nearly three-quarters of the 50,000 US military personnel deployed in Japan.

In an article appearing in The People's Daily, the country's most-read newspaper, the authors argue that the Ryukyu were a vassal state of China before being annexed by Japan at the end of the 19th century, and that Tokyo's defeat in World War II should have prompted the return of the volcanic islands - home to about 1.3 million people - to Beijing.

China's foreign ministry has endorsed the article, saying that "unresolved problems relating to the Ryukyu Islands have reached the time for reconsideration."

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga replied by saying that Japan's sovereignty over the Ryukyu archipelago, which stretches for about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Japan's mainland, is beyond doubt.

With up to 85 percent of Okinawans opposing the US military presence on Okinawa and heightened tensions in the East China Sea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said it was time to consider taking the nation’s security into its own hands.

These island disputes are not going away any time soon. In fact, China and Japan have come already come close to blows over the Senkaku Islands on several occasions in the last 6 months. Given China's rapid expansion of military capability at the same time the U.S. is decreasing force size and capability, they are feeling pretty bold.


Take Advantage of These Resources

Our social media channels provide a steady steam of important news and resources between issues of Threat Journal with little or no overlap of content. Combined with the AlertsUSA service for instant mobile notification of the really bad developments, you have an unmatched set of tools to keep yourself fully up to speed on the nation's threat environment.

With times getting worse by the day, we urge you to utilize these resources.

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