by CIO Staff

IT Security Lags Five Years After Sept. 11

Sep 08, 20066 mins
IT Strategy

Tech Spotlight   >   Cybersecurity [IFW]   >   Hands at a keyboard with binary code on the display.
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1. “IT Security Lags Five Years After Sept. 11,”

InfoWorld, 9/7. It’s nearly five years since the deadly terrorist attacks on the United States occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, but many IT security projects put in place to try and thwart similar attacks have made little progress. A greater emphasis on cybersecurity, improved cargo scanning on planes and ships, and interoperable communications networks for emergency response agencies are still not a reality. What has changed is the implementation of a controversial electronic-surveillence program run by the U.S. National Security Agency, with alleged cooperation from large telecommunications carriers. While U.S. officials say the program is necessary and legal, critics counter that the system invades innocent people’s privacy and hasn’t improved national security.

2. “Intel Announces Layoffs, Reorganization,”, 9/6. It’s been a long time coming, but the chip giant finally announced the substantial job cuts that had been in the cards for months. Set to be axed in stages this year and next are 7,500 positions, which will mean Intel will have 92,000 staff come mid-2007, compared with the 102,500 workers the company employed early in 2006. Intel is hoping the job cuts will help stem the slide in its profitability by saving the vendor US$2 billion in 2007 and US$3 billion in 2008. Analysts welcomed the move as a much-needed opportunity for Intel to trim the fat off its operations and focus its attention on core, profitable businesses.

3. “HP Filing Reveals Board Infighting, Leaks,”, 9/6. A former member of Hewlett-Packard’s board, venture capitalist Thomas Perkins, made waves this week when he accused the company of condoning questionable tactics in investigating leaks of confidential information. HP responded with a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confirming that another board member, George Keyworth, was the source of the leaks to the media, including information relating to the closed-door deliberations of its board. Perkins resigned suddenly from the HP board in May over the way the investigations were carried out. He particularly objected to the use of pretexting, whereby an investigator contacts a phone company and uses personal information to pretend to be someone else in order to access that individual’s phone records. HP revealed that a third-party organization involved in the investigations had used pretexting.

4. “Microsoft Sets Vista Pricing, Expands Tester Base,”PC World, 9/5. About a week after online retailer let slip the pricing for the software vendor’s upcoming Windows Vista operating system, Microsoft confirmed the prices. The retail pricing for the various versions of Vista range between US$199 for Vista Home Basic up to US$399 for Windows Vista Ultimate. What’s still unclear is exactly when consumers will be able to get their hands on Vista, with sometime in January being suggested, while business customers will gain access to the operating system a couple of months earlier in November. Microsoft is also expanding the tester base for Vista from 15,000 users to a potential 5 million users as it posts Vista Release Candidate 1 to its Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet websites.

5. “E.U. Criticized for Action Against Microsoft,”, 9/7. Four European Parliament members, three from the United Kingdom and one from Poland, have voiced their concern over the European Commission’s ongoing contretemps with the software giant. In a letter, the legislators said they fear the commission’s antitrust actions against Microsoft may result in a delay in the release of Vista that could negatively impact European businesses. The commission has already expressed its concerns to Microsoft on several occasions about some Vista functionality and the operating system’s compatibility with products from third-party software vendors.

6. “Business Focus Seen as Key to Showing Value of IT Security Spending,”Computerworld, 9/7. In order to obtain sufficient funding for security projects, IT managers need to become better at presenting their case to their companies’ top management. Stressing business risk, customer impact and due diligence rather than getting caught up in technical jargon and unnecessary sensationalism can ensure that C-level executives really understand the value of IT security investments, according to end users. Being able to fund new projects is particularly important now that there’s a growing shift in the way IT security is deployed as companies look to establish systems that are more proactive and less reactive.

7. “Cisco Banks on ‘Quad Play’ for Sustained Growth,”, 9/7. The networking giant expects to maintain double-digit growth for the next four years by incorporating its “quadruple play” of data, voice, video and mobile capabilities into its product lines aimed at service providers and enterprise, commercial and consumer clients. Talking up Cisco’s future at the vendor’s annual financial analyst conference this week, executives hinted that the company plans to unveil a high-end video conferencing product in the next few months, and fine-tune quality control for voice over IP and video across several of its router lines.

8. “Mobile Phones to Get Video-Recording Features in ’07,”, 9/7. Texas Instruments demonstrated personal video recording capabilities for mobile phones this week that will enable users to record television programs on their phones and then watch that show at a later time. The TI package of its own Hollywood digital TV chip and its OMAP 2 multimedia processor bundled with software from partners PacketVideo and S3 will also facilitate “picture-in-picture” viewing, so a person can watch a prerecorded program and also track a live event in a smaller, on-screen window. TI’s hoping the technology will start appearing in mobile phones in 2007.

9. “Will Apple Enter Movie Download Business?”PC World, 9/5. As with any upcoming Apple product launch, this one timed for Sept. 12, the guessing game has begun. The vendor typically is highly secretive about its plans, inviting plenty of speculation about what may be on offer. This time, the smart money’s on Apple unveiling its own movie-download service along the same lines as its existing iTunes online music store. The key question is whether the vendor will be able to set an aggressive enough price for movie downloads. While US$0.99 per song has worked well for iTunes, will US$10 or US$15 be the charm for movies? Ultimately, any new download service is less about Apple trying to compete with other online movie companies and much more about the company looking for additional ways to entice consumers to buy more of its iPod media players.

10. “Google Seeks Surfers’ Help to Label Images,”

IT World, 9/4. Got some spare time on your hands and keen to help out a search engine giant with its categorization? Google has just the job for you: categorizing and labeling some of the billions of online images on the Web based on the content of those images. The vendor has put in place a game, Google Image Labeler, in which two randomly selected players are shown the same image, selected at random from Google’s search index, and given 90 seconds to suggest as many keywords or phrases as they can to describe it. They score points if any of their descriptions match.

-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)

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