IBM splitting off professional services, big flaw in Apple’s T2 security chip, and still more tech acquisitions happening. We’ll talk about it all in this episode of the Rundown!
Blogger Sam Curry disclosed that he and a team of four other hackers have been attacking Apple for the past three months. Not to worry, though. This team wears white hats and has been undertaking the project with Apple’s full support. The group turned up 55 vulnerabilities, including 11 critical ones. Apple knocked out the problems in 1-2 days upon discovery and ended up paying the team $288,000 for their efforts per the bug bounty program.
Cisco is jumping into the container security game with the acquisition of Portshift, the latest container company to have “port” in their name. The deal for the Israeli company was announced on October 1 and will bring their team into the Cisco fold to focus on providing cloud security services and technology to this emerging market. Financial terms were not disclosed, which usually means it was small enough to not be material to Cisco.
Guess who isn’t thrilled about the Arm/NVIDIA deal? Arm co-founder Hermann Hauser. In a statement to the British House of Commons last week he suggested that the sale of Arm to the US-based company would end their neutrality in the semiconductor market and threaten to create a quasi-monopoly based again in the US. Hauser is no fan of the deal, alternating between government intervention to stop it and creating indefinite legal conditions to halt the sale.
Virginia’s voter registration system, along with several other commonwealth services, were temporarily knocked offline on Tuesday. The ultimate culprit of the outage was determined to be a county roadside construction crew that severed the Verizon fiber connection for the government data center. The story had a lot of attention because Tuesday was the final day to register to vote in the upcoming US election.
The big news this week is the mitosis of IBM. In a press release late last week IBM announced that their professional services division is going to be spun off into a separate company. IBM is shedding this weight to focus on the trillion dollar hybrid cloud and AI market that they claim is the future. The professional services division will get a new name and be publicly listed. Professional services was a longtime favorite of former CEO Ginni Rommety and this move seems to indicate that Red Hat has supplanted the former leadership at IBM and started to try and turn the ship. It is unclear at this time how the final details of the divestiture will shake out.
Apple has been touting the T2 security coprocessor as the future of secure computing. It acts a locking mechanism for Touch ID, encrypted data storage, and even access to the TouchBar. However, this week hackers were able to expose a big vulnerability in the chip that allowed them access. Ironically, the exploit used to jailbreak the T2 chip is the same as one that has been used to jailbreak iOS devices for the past few years. Right now, researchers are trying to explore the functions of the T2 chip and document capabilities, but once the genie is out of the bottle you can bet that malicious crews won’t be far behind.
The 2020 Wheel of Acquisitions has landed on Xilinx. AMD is rumored to be in talks to acquire the company for $30 billion. The chip market has been consolidating for a number of years, as we have reported here on the Rundown. The deal would add programmable AI and 5G base station chip designs to AMD’s formidable manufacturing process. Xilinx has been in a bit of tough spot since one of their biggest customers, Huawei, was put on the naughty list by the US government last year.
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