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Google Workers Unionize | Gestalt IT Rundown: January 06, 2021

Google workers unionize, Russia hacked Microsoft too and Intel is urged to explore new deals. We’ll discuss these topics and much more on this week’s Rundown.

Hackers Using Zyxel Backdoor

Zyxel devices are in the news again because of a security flaw. Researchers in the Netherlands have discovered a hard-coded user account with admin privileges that can be accessed via the web interface or SSH. Teusink said that the backdoor appears to have been introduced in firmware version 4.60 patch 0, which was released a few weeks ago. Zyxel is quickly rolling out a fix for their devices, with firewalls already patched and AP controllers soon to get an update without the hole. Until then, users are advised to disable remote administration unless absolutely necessary.

VMware Unhappy with Nutanix CEO

VMware has filed a lawsuit against Nutanix for hiring their former COO Rajiv Ramaswami. The suit, filed just before the end of 2020, alleges that Ramaswami failed to honor his contractual obligations to VMware. Additionally, VMware says that he has inside knowledge of the company’s plans and did not notify them that he was interviewing with a rival company. Experts don’t believe the suit will move very far given California’s At Will hiring policies and general disdain for non-compete agreements.

Cisco Adding Counterfeit Protections

Cisco announced this week that they are adding new counterfeit protections to their hardware devices. Hologram stickers and shipping invoice reconciliation are highlighted as ways to prevent gray market resale of their hardware to third parties. In 2020, researchers reported that a growing number of manufacturers are seeing increases in unauthorized hardware resale. Dell EMC has specifically cited this as a concern, both from a service and security perspective.

Google Workers Unionize

Google workers took a bold step on Monday to organize a union for themselves. With the support of the existing Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Alphabet Workers Union was announced and opened to all 120,000 employees of Google and parent company Alphabet. The move comes as the tech industry upheaval continues and workers demand rights and benefits up and down the corporate ladder. Around 300 employees have already signed union cards and efforts are underway to build to holding union elections. Google has made no secret in the past that it does not support its employees forming a labor union and until they choose to recognize the effort or 50% of the eligible employees sign on nothing is for certain.

Russia Hacked Microsoft Too

Russian hackers have had a busy end to 2020. In a report released on New Year’s Eve, The Washington Post reported that Microsoft was hacked by one of the groups. The avenue for the breach came courtesy of the SolarWinds vulnerability that we reported about on the Rundown. Microsoft announced that hackers had access source code for Microsoft software but did not specify which software was viewed. This is the latest in a number of agencies and companies reporting unauthorized access from the hackers suspected of breaching SolarWinds and FireEye.

Intel Urged to Explore Deal

Activist investor Third Point is riling up Intel. They sent a letter last week to the Intel chairman pushing for changes to outsource manufacturing capacity and sell off some of their less-than-stellar acquisitions, such as Altera. Intel said they welcome the opportunity to explore options with Third Point and Third Point did not comment beyond their letter, which was reported by Reuters.

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

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at

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