Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Former Fujitsu President Sues After Termination

Ex President Kuniaki Nozoe Threatens to SueThe ex-president of Fujitsu, Kuniaki Nozoe, is now threatening to sue the IT services giant for damages over losses suffered by the company and has even asked the corporation to sue some of its own executives. What prompted the legal action from the former president was his forced resignation last September. This March he wrote the company asking that his resignation be nullified and reversed, a tactic which hasn't gone very well for the former president. In response, Fujitsu alluded that he had been forced to quit due to his ties with organized crime. In fact the board said it had previously warned Nozoe that such links were in conflict with "the Fujitsu Way".

Fujitsu first announced the resignation of Mr Nozoe in September 2009 citing health issues. However last month they admitted that the president had been forced out following an investigation into his business links. The investigation found that Mr Nozoe had a relationship with a third party company said to "have an unfavourable reputation" - a common phrase used in Japan to infer that one has ties to the Yakuza. Nozoe stated that his relationship was merely personal but upon being confronted with the allegations the board and Mr Nozoe agreed with one another to issue a statement attributing his departure to poor health rather than blame the unnamed third party. Although Nozoe did not break any laws Fujitsu maintains that he failed his duties as president.

The episode has since raised questions over the role of organized crime syndicates in big Japanese business. "The suggestion that a major Japanese company has been linked with the yakuza is not surprising," said Dr Seijiro Takeshita, a director at the Japanese bank Mizuho International "Associating with gangsters has often been a part of doing business in Japan - including even the banks." The Tokyo Stock Exchange has since given Fujitsu a strict warning over the issue.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Largest Cloud in the World is Dark, Shady, and Criminally Owned

When thinking of the largest cloud computing network known to man, what companies come to mind? Microsoft? Sure they have alot of computers but not even close. Amazon? Getting bigger but still not even in the same ballpark. Google? As monstrous as their cloud is, its a mere drop in the ocean. The largest cloud in the tech world isn't controlled by a brick and mortar corporation, but rather it is a network of computers controlled by the Conficker computer worm across more than 200 countries in the world. So just how big is the worlds biggest cloud?

"Conficker controls 6.4 million computer systems in 230 countries at 230 top level domains globally with more than 18 million CPUs and 28 terabits per second of bandwidth." said Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and senior technologist at the infrastructure services firm Neustar.

In other words the biggest cloud on the planet is controlled by an unknown criminal enterprise that rents out their botnet to send spam, perform a denial-of-service attack, hack computers, spread malware, and steal personal information and money. In fact, it is believed that much of the comment spam that plagues many blogs is spawned from a portion of the conficker cloud. Put simply, the cloud is "mobbed up."

In many ways, the Conficker cloud is much more competitive than legit vendors. The operators have experience with the virus dating back to 1998 and their footprint is bigger than any cloud previously seen. On top of that there are no moral, ethical, or legal constraints with the added bonus of zero costs. There is even an unlimited supply of new resources readily available as the conficker spreads far and wide to take over and steal more computing power.

Just like legitimate cloud vendors, Conficker is available for rent and can be found just about anywhere in the world a user would want their cloud to be based. Users can choose the amount of bandwidth they want, the kind of operating system they want to use, and even what kind of services will be installed into the cloud such as spam distribution, dos attacks, etc.

By the way, just in case you were wondering, the biggest legitimate cloud provider is Google which is made up of approximately 500,000 systems, 1 million CPUs and 1,500 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bandwdith. Coming in second is Amazonwith 160,000 systems, 320,000 CPUs and 400 Gbps of bandwidth. The third largest legit cloud is owned by Rackspace, which offers 65,000 systems, 130,000 CPUs and 300 Gbps.

Although the last major attack performed by the Conficker cloud occurred over a year ago against the Manchester police department, the virus is still considered a very real and palpable threat. If you fear you are infected by the Conficker virus you can try out this Conficker Eye Chart which pulls images from three sites that Conficker is known to block and displays them in a box. If all the images show up you're in good shape, but if one or more doesn't display it could indicate a Conficker or other malware infection. Be aware that if you are browsing from behind a proxy, you may be able to see all the images and still be infected.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

x86 Server Market Directs Microsoft to End Itanium Development

Itanium serverMicrosoft has announced that it will no longer support development for Intel's Itanium processor effectively placing current Itanium products into maintenance status for the next three years with support ending entirely in eight years. Microsoft also stated that the current versions of Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2, and its developer tool Visual Studio 2010 will be the last versions to support the Itanium architecture. For those wondering exactly why Microsoft would make this move, Joe Clabby, President of Clabby Analytics, offers his thoughts on the decision.

"Here's what really happens: Microsoft has invested in x86 architecture. People don't want Windows on Itanium. They want HP-UX on Itanium and maybe some NonStop and OpenVMS, but they have not done jumping jacks over Windows on Itanium. Microsoft is saying its committing heart and soul to x86 multicore and that's what the market wants,"

While the move is yet another blow to the Itanium line, losing Microsoft is not as painful as one would think. Approximately 80 percent of Itanium sales are from HP, which runs HP-UX, NonStop or OpenVMS. Windows and Unix are merely a small portion of their business. However, the marketplace continues to gravitate towards the architecture proposed by Advanced Micro Devices, which added 64-bit extensions to the x86 processors used by many mainstream servers and PCs. Although Microsoft has offered 64-bit versions of Windows Server for both types of chips, the x64 versions have proven to be far more popular than the Itanium ones. Microsoft's reasoning for the decision seems to be sound.

"The natural evolution of the x86 64-bit ('x64') architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today's 'mission-critical' workloads," Reger said in a blog post. "Just this week, both Intel and AMD have released new high core-count processors, and servers with eight or more x64 processors have now been announced by a full dozen server manufacturers. Such servers contain 64 to 96 processor cores, with more on the horizon."

Despite waning mainstream support and the fact that Itanium has never been a big seller, the chip remains as an importance figure in the market seeing as its the processing power backing HP's high-end server line. In addition, Intel continues to develop new versions of the processor, most recently the Itanium 9300 which was introduced in February, and has promised at least two more generations codenamed "Poulson" and "Kitson". While the immediate future seems secure for the Itanium series of processors it remains to be seen just how far they will be able to go.

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