News Rundown

Garmin’s Ransomware Outage | Gestalt IT Rundown: July 29, 2020

Garmin goes dark for days due to a ransomware outage, Intel’s 7nm delay forces a major reorganization, New Zealand tries to make algorithms accountable, and Cloudflare launches a serverless offering. Rich Stroffolino and guest co-host Max Mortillaro discuss all these and more on the Gestalt IT Rundown!

This week on the Rundown:

Google Extends Work from Home

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that Google will extend its work from home policy until at least July 2021. This extends to Google’s roughly 200,000 full time and contract employees in its major office in Mountain View, Calif., as well as other offices in the U.S., U.K., India, and Brazil. Google has partially reopened some smaller offices in countries relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Australia, Greece and Thailand.

Verified Gmail

Google announced new security features in G Suite. Gmail will test showing a brand’s logo as an avatar in an email to indicate if a message is authentics. This will rely on the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard, and used in conjunction with Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, which helps stop scammers from forging “from” addresses in email.

Juniper Networks Builds Out Mist

Juniper Networks announced Juniper Mist WAN Assurance, a new cloud-based service that brings its AI-powered insights they’ve used on WIFI to WAN and branch networks. This can enable things like customizable WAN service levels, proactive anomoly response, and supports using the Marvis conversationa interface to look at events across the LAN, WLAN and WAN for faut isolation and remidiation. Juniper integrating its Mist acquisition across the network, news or nah?

Deepfakes for Podcasts

The AI-enabled podcast editor Descript brough a feature called Overdub out of beta. This will create an AI voice double, letting you adjust a transcript, and have the audio be corrected to match the text. This launches as part of the Descript Pro tier. Descript is an interesting approach to video an audio editing in general, but as a content creator Max, audio deepfakes in your podcast edits, news or nah?

SAP Spins Out Qualtrics

Almost two years ago, SAP announced it was acquiring the experience management platform Qualtrics for $8 billion, just before the company IPO’d. Last week SAP announced that it will now spin off the division, which will go public. SAP will remain the largest shareholder after the offering. Qualtrics and SAP’s ecommerce business has been doing well during COVID-19 lockdowns, even as its mainstay business has been struggling as many of its large customers scale back major projects. News or nah Max?

Marvell’s Custom ASICs

Last year, Marvell acquired Avera Semiconductor, a custom ASIC maker with a history streching back to be part of Global Foundries, and before that IBM in the 90s. Marvell has now announced how it will integrate this into a fully custom ASIC business, allowing customers to integrate custom customer IP blocks, opening the door to businesses that need specalized silicon but cannot design it fully themselves. Marvell highlighted wired and wireless network, as well as custom data center silicon as potential use cases. We’ve seen AMD have a lot of success with their semi-custom silicon business, can Marvell bring custom silicon to the masses?

Garmin Goes Dark

Garmin suuffered an outage that began in the early morning of July 23rd that effected its official website, call centers, the Garmin Connect data syncing service, Garmin’s aviation database, and production lines in Asia. While services were out, users couldnt sync their fitness data from devices, and pilots were unable to do FAA required updates to flight databases on their navigation devices. Services began to be restored on July 27th, and the company said the outage was caused by a ransomware attack, clarifying that no customer data was ultimately lost or exposed in the attack. Garmin employees online said it appeared to be a varient of the WastedLocker ransomware, that asked for a $10 million ransom.

Cloudflare Launches Serverless

Cloudflare announced the launch of a private beta for Workers Unbound, a new serverless cloud platform. The company actually began offering a Workers edge platform in 2017, which will now be called Workers Bundled and kept around for basic workloads. Cloudflare aims for Workers Unbound to offer near zero cold-start latency, while able to be 75% less expensive than AWS Lambda. The service also supports Python natively and includes aan SDK to add support for other languages. Workers comes from the tools the company uses for its own services, and Cloudflare aims to offer all of its internal service eventually to customers. The origins of the service almost sound like how AWS got started, can Cloudflare, a seemingly ubiquitous part of the internet, make a dent in the serverless market?

Intel Reorg

Intel announced Monday that that its Chief Engineering Officer Dr. Venkata (Murthy) Ren-du-chin-tala will leave the company August 3. His Technology Systems Architecture and Client Group will be split into five teams — technology development, manufacturing, design engineering, architecture, and supply chain management –all reporting to Intel CEO Bob Swan. This comes as Intel announced in its earnings that its 7nm processors would be delayed to market 6 months, as internal yields are currently 1 year behind projections. Semiconductor process shifts are incredibly expensive and complex, but not too surprising to see Intel shaking things up after years of struggles.

Algorithmic Accountability

Editor’s Note: This story was cut from the show due to time. Still a great read!

The new Zealand government published a charter to create a set of standards for how public agencies should use the algorithms that increasingly drive decision-making by officials. Government departments signing the charter pledge to be publicly transparent about how decision-making is driven by algorithms, with “plain English” explanations; to make information available about the processes used and how data is stored unless forbidden by law, and to identify biases within algorithms. The charter does not include enforcement mechanisms.

The Gestalt IT Rundown is a live weekly look at the IT news of the week. It broadcasts live on YouTube every Wednesday at 12:30pm ET. Be sure to subscribe to Gestalt IT on YouTube for the show each week.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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