by CIO Staff

Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week: Oracle Buys Hyperion

Mar 02, 20077 mins

1. “Oracle Deal Could Hurt Hyperion Users, Say Customers, Analysts,”

Computerworld, March 1

Word that Oracle is buying business intelligence vendor Hyperion for $3.3 billion was followed with customers and analysts publicly expressing concern that the deal isn’t going to be so good for Hyperion users. A key concern is that Oracle has been on a buying binge, having also bought Siebel, which competes in that same market space, and so customers and analysts say they find options are increasingly limited. Customers who don’t care to have all of their technology investments tied up with one vendor seem particularly worried. Some also have concerns that Hyperion products will be tinkered with by Oracle, even while acknowledging that Hyperion’s planning, budgeting and consolidation software covers a gap in Oracle’s business apps strategy when it comes to competing with SAP.

2. “Lenovo Recalls 208,000 Notebook Batteries,”, March 1

After five customers complained to Lenovo that laptop batteries overheated after computers were dropped or hit, the company announced a recall of 208,000 notebook batteries worldwide. The recall involves the nine-cell, extended-life version of a battery pack from Sanyo. Lenovo sold the packs from November 2005 to February 2007 as an option in some version of ThinkPads in the R, T and Z series model lines. Lenovo is advising customers whose laptops have the faulty packs to immediately remove the batteries and power them up only with the AC adapter and power cord. The company will replace the faulty batteries.

3. “Black Hat Hears of Data Leak Dangers,”

InfoWorld, March 1

The risks of using Wi-Fi networks were underscored at the annual Black Hat conference this week, with security researchers demonstrating how those who connect to the Web in public places such as airports and coffee shops are a hacker’s dream. Researchers showed how a software application they developed—a “sniffer”—can easily intercept data from devices connected publicly to the Internet and that even the most innocuous data can be used to create a detailed profile of users and how they use the Web, and even to find out information on their employer’s IT network. To make their case, they intercepted an e-mail sent to a reporter in a different conference session as they spoke—the e-mail included a password for an application in it. It’s the collection of information, rather than single pieces of data, that are of concern, the researchers said.

4. “Green Grid Powers Up to Save Energy,”, Feb. 26

The Green Grid opened for business Monday as a group of technology companies has joined to collaborate on ways to improve energy efficiency in data centers. The group will promote development of energy-efficient processors, servers, networks and other technology and also will promote best practices in data center operation. Eleven companies are founding members of The Green Grid, and they invite users to sign up to help the cause.

5. “IBM Aims for Midmarket with Business Intelligence Appliance Server,”

Network World, March 1

The annual Cebit trade show is still a couple of weeks away, but news has trickled out through industry sources that IBM will announce a new software stack developed with Business Objects and aimed at offering business intelligence to more mid-market customers. The stack will include the IBM DB2 Data Warehouse Edition, Business Objects Crystal Decisions and a Linux operating system, either from Red Hat or Novell, with all of the products in the stack on a single disk. The sources said that installation has been simplified, with automated setup and configuration, and the stack can be up and running quickly. Official details are expected when the IT world converges in Hanover, Germany, for the huge show.

6. “Daylight Saving Checklist: 10 Things to Think About When Preparing for DST Changes,”

Network World, Feb. 28

Daylight Saving Time takes effect on Sunday, March 11, in the United States this year, and the change from early April necessitates IT preparations and patching. Companies that haven’t already started that process are being urged to do so as soon as possible—like right now. A handy checklist to cover tasks over the days between now and then has been assembled, based on what analysts and experts are advising about the time change. It’s especially important, they say, to determine which systems will need patches and fixes to correct the time, as it could be easy to overlook a system.

7. “Google Sharpens Malware Alerts for Webmasters,”

PC World, Feb. 27

Google has improved a service it launched last November that lets webmasters know if their sites contain malware. The company is now offering more detailed alerts and is sending those by e-mail to webmasters. Google had previously let webmasters know their sites were identified as having malware, but offered only generic suggestions for dealing with problems. The enhanced alerts direct webmasters to specific pages of concern and offer more information for dealing with suspected malware.

8. “Lawmakers Working to Ban Hacked RFID Door Cards,”

InfoWorld, Feb. 28

Here’s an issue that might not have been thought about much: RFID door cards used by millions of U.S. office workers to get into their buildings and offices can be hacked. The company IOActive was going to give a presentation about that issue at the Black Hat Conference, but HID, which makes the cards, threatened to file a patent-infringement suit if IOActive used any of its source code in the demonstration. Some in the government sector were already engaged in a furious debate about use of such cards in government buildings. California legislators have introduced bills to limit RFID-based card systems in the government sector amid growing security concerns, including reports about how RFID chips can be infected with malware and used to attack the IT systems they’re connected to, among other scenarios. Security experts are saying now that government shouldn’t be an early adopter of such technologies, but should wait for the bugs (so to speak) to be worked out first.

9. “Security Crisis? It Pays to Keep Your Cool, Expert Says,”, March 1

No matter the corporate security crisis, security managers and chief security officers need to stay calm and communicate clearly with CIOs, a Microsoft official said this week at a conference in London. CIOs need regular briefings, and they also need to be told when they will be provided additional updates, said Greg Galford, Microsoft’s chief security architect. He was the technical lead during a huge attack on Microsoft’s network in 2000, so he learned his lessons firsthand. The company made too much information public on how its corporate networks were set up, and that probably helped hackers, he said. But the company also learned a lot about how to communicate internally. CIOs might not have the same technical background when it comes to intrusions and security issues as the security officials in the company, so the security managers need to communicate in nontechnical terms, he advised. That’s especially important because CIOs “are always worried about what’s going on,” he said.

10. “Microsoft Interoperability Efforts Once Again Criticized by E.U.,”, March 1

The ongoing antitrust battle between Microsoft and the European Commission heated up this week, with both sides tossing accusations at the other. The commission says that Microsoft has failed to provide interoperability information on “reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms,” failing to meet a condition of the 2004 antitrust ruling against the company. Microsoft also proposes overcharging for interoperability information that software makers need so that they can make their products work properly with Windows, the commission said. Nearly all of the information Microsoft proposed it will provide is not worth what the company wants to charge for it, the commission said. A Microsoft official said that’s all a matter of interpretation, while another company representative said the price list is too complicated to be provided to reporters. Microsoft has four weeks to respond to the commission’s latest “statement of objections,” after which it faces daily fines of 3 million euros (US$3.9 million).

-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service

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