by CIO Staff

Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week: Security Dominates Microsoft, DoD, Grokster and More

Nov 11, 20055 mins

1. “Ozzie Memo Shows Microsoft Rolling With Punches,”  InfoWorld, 11/9. An internal memo penned by Gates Inc. Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie provided more insight on how Microsoft is already moving to ensure it doesn’t miss the boat on the next generation of online services, dubbed Web. 2.0. The software giant was initially slow to react when the Internet first came into its own in the mid-1990s and is determined not to make the same mistake twice.

2. “Some Microsoft Security Updates Aren’t Reaching Users,”InfoWorld, 11/9. One issue Microsoft continues to struggle with is security issues relating to its software. Though the company has made significant improvements on many fronts, it still has more work to do. This week, some users of the company’s Software Update Services didn’t receive the latest Microsoft security patch in a timely fashion with one disgruntled customer suggesting the delay might be the vendor’s way of encouraging a switch from SUS to the newer Windows Server Update Services sooner rather than later.

3. “GAO: Navy Sinks $1B Into Failed ERP Pilot Projects,” Computerworld, 11/10. The U.S. Navy embarked on four flawed enterprise resource planning (ERP) pilots based on SAP software marred by incompatibility issues and limited scope to the tune of $1 billion, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). An ongoing $800 million ERP project due to go live at the Navy in 2011 is also not going as planned, the report stated. However, the Navy disputed the GAO’s findings, claiming to be “quite happy” with how the ERP pilots have gone, according to officials.

4. “Defense Dept. Looks To Be More ’Netcentric,’” , Computerworld, 11/9. The U.S. Department of Defense is looking to a private organization, the World Wide Consortium for Grid (W2COG), to help in the development of a business process to deal with IT issues both from a technical and a cultural perspective. The DoD is working on making its IT infrastructure more integrated and responsive and is keen to solicit insight from the W2COG on how to achieve these objectives more rapidly.

5. “Will Hackers Target Copiers?”  PC World, 11/10. With devices like printers, copiers and scanners all hooked into a company’s network, the potential for these devices to open up security vulnerabilities exploitable by hackers is very real. Experts in the field are encouraging makers of office equipment to build more security into their machines.

6. “CA Spins Ingres Off To Independent Company,”, NetworkWorld, 11/7. Eleven years after buying ASK/Ingres, software vendor Computer Associates announced plans to sell off the Ingres relational database to a private equity firm which will take on development and marketing of the product. When CA turned Ingres into an open-source project last year, some analysts saw it as a sign that the database was going nowhere fast while others viewed it as a positive development for a product struggling to find its niche at CA.

7. “Grokster Shuttered In Court Settlement,”InfoWorld, 11/7. Peer-to-peer software company Grokster lost its three-year legal battle with the U.S. entertainment industry this week over its alleged direct and indirect contributions to music and movie copyright infringement. As part of a settlement in the case, Grokster agreed to close its doors. A la Napster, Grokster plans to reinvent itself as a legal service in the near term under the name Grokster3G.

8. “History’s Worst Software Bugs,”Wired, 11/8. Time does not wither them, software bugs are as much a part of our lives as they were when they first appeared some 60 years ago. Among the all-time top 10 baddest bugs are ones that reportedly caused a space probe to verge from its launch path and a radiation therapy device to malfunction and deliver lethal doses of radiation to unsuspecting patients. Probably the most famous IT vendor bug to date was the error in Intel’s Pentium chip in 1993 which resulted in computational miscalculations and the company having to replace the defective chips at a cost of $475 million.

9. “French Police Fear That Blogs Have Helped Incite Rioting,”  New York Times, 11/10. As rioting erupted first in Paris in response to the deaths of two youths and then spread elsewhere in France this week, the local police pointed to technology as assisting in orchestrating outbreaks of violence, in particular, blogs on the Skyblog web site. The officials charged that some comments on Skyblog were highly inflammatory in calling for a variety of arson attacks on a number of targets including a police stations prompting a trio of criminal investigations.

10. “’Bots For Sony CD Software Spotted Online,”  CNET, 11/10. Sony’s move to copy-protect some of its CDs through the use of rootkit software which installs on a user’s hard disk has provoked plenty of adverse comment including a class action lawsuit. Already, the first malware written by hackers to piggyback on top of Sony’s copy protection tools has been identified by security experts. The malicious software installs itself on a computer’s hard drive when an individual plays one of Sony’s copy-protected CDs and leaves the door open for a hacker to take over control of the infected machine.

–China Martens