1. “Another PC With Veterans’ Information Is Missing,”
CIO.com, 8/8. While there was some positive news for the beleaguered U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week, clearly the department’s IT security woes are far from over. Soon after two 19-year-old men were charged in the May 3 theft of a VA laptop containing the personal data of 26.5 million military veterans and their spouses, the department revealed that a desktop PC had gone AWOL. The PC being used by VA subcontractor Unisys contains personal information on 36,000 veterans who were being treated at two Pennsylvania medical centers.
2. “Windows Live Is Paralyzed, Says Outgoing Manager,”
IT World, 8/10. After only four months as a Microsoft program manager, Niall Kennedy’s moving on, fed up with the software giant’s apparent lack of commitment to its much-vaunted Windows Live online services strategy. He felt that Microsoft failed to give him adequate support as the vendor expected him to build a feed syndication engine to bring together address books, RSS feeds, photos and other user content from various Windows Live services single-handed. Kennedy maintains that in the face of cost-management issues, Microsoft has pulled back on some of its Windows Live efforts, a charge the company strenuously denies.
3. “Trojan Horse Takes a Bite out of BlackBerry,”
PC World, 8/9. A security researcher believes he has developed the first Trojan horse malware to target Research In Motion’s BlackBerry e-mail device. Jesse D’Aguanno wrote the software in part to make the point that users often don’t adopt the same security concerns they have for their PCs in regard to their handheld devices. Users tend to focus more on ensuring the security of their data on the device, but they often ignore the BlackBerry’s networking capabilities, which give the device access to their internal computer networks. RIM said the hack D’Aguanno described could be avoided by users properly configuring their BlackBerrys.
4. “Worm Fears Raised After Release Of Windows Malware,”
Network World, 8/10. Attack code taking advantage of a just-patched vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows operating systems relating to Windows Server services was posted to the Internet this week. Security experts worried that the posted code could be used to kick off a widespread worm attack. In an unusual move, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly encouraged PC users to install the Microsoft patch on their office and home machines to protect against such an attack.
5. “IBM’s FileNet Bid Proof of ECM Consolidation,”
IT World, 8/10. It seems these days that Big Blue’s pocketbook is always open as the company makes purchase after purchase of smaller firms. This time around, IBM is offering US$1.6 billion for fellow enterprise content management (ECM) software vendor FileNet. The move will put IBM back as number-one player in the ECM market in revenue terms and knock former top dog EMC into second place. Pure-play ECM vendors like FileNet are being swallowed up by systems infrastructure providers as more content management capabilities are being built in IT systems by companies including Microsoft and Oracle.
6. “Google: AOL Breach Wouldn’t Happen at Our Co.,”CIO.com, 8/10. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, tried to reassure users of his company’s search engine that their online search histories will remain safe from prying eyes. At the start of the week, an AOL researcher accidentally made public a database containing the search histories of more than 650,000 AOL users. Schmidt said Google has security measures in place that would prevent such an incident from occurring at the company. He also saw an upside in AOL’s error in terms of raising general awareness about what can happen if private online information is shared without a user’s permission.
7. “New U.K. Rules Put Laptops in Checked Baggage,”CIO.com, 8/10. Following U.K. authorities reporting their foiling of a major terrorist plot, new restrictions came into force on what passengers can and cannot bring on board planes. The alleged plot centered on plans to blow up aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States, apparently by using explosive devices involving liquids and batteries. With that in mind, passengers in the United Kingdom can no longer take most liquids or any electronic items on board, meaning they have to stow laptops and cell phones in their checked baggage.
8. “Philly CIO: Troubled Water Billing System Can Still Work,”Computerworld, 8/10. Project Ocean, a water billing system for Philadelphia’s 500,000 customers, is still not up and running despite three years of development work and US$18 million in costs. The troubled project is two years late and has already cost more than twice its initial budget. At issue has been the technical complexity involved in designing the software and the relative inexperience of lead IT vendor Oracle in creating similar systems, according to outgoing Philadelphia Chief Information Officer Dianah Neff. Due to leave her job Sept. 8, Neff says Project Ocean is on hold until the city and Oracle reach a settlement on how to get the initiative back on track.
9. “Brocade Acquires McData,”Network World, 8/8. In some ways, Brocade’s US$713 million bid for rival storage area network switch vendor McData makes a lot of sense, particularly to create a combined company to counter Cisco, the other major player in the market. However, analysts queried the high price and timing of Brocade’s move. If the company had sat tight for a few more quarters, McData, already a declining force, might have been a good deal cheaper. The other issue Brocade needs to address quickly is how it intends to rationalize the plethora of products it will own, with Brocade’s and McData’s offerings almost completely overlapping each other in terms of focus and functionality.
10. “IBM Readies Speech Technology that Crosses Language Barriers,” Computerworld, 8/7. The software and services giant is hard at work testing voice-print-recognition technology that can verify speakers’ identities even if they’re not speaking their native language. Also known as speaker verification, the technology acts as the spoken equivalent to a password so that companies can authenticate users over the phone. Speaker verification may eventually also serve as a legal proxy to a written signature. IBM products including the speaker verification feature could appear within the next 12 months.
-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)
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