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FedEx Still Reeling from June TNT Cyberattack -
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Wed, 19 Jul 17
FedEx Still Reeling from June TNT Cyberattack
It's likely a cyber-attack on FedEx's Europe-based TNT Express unit in June will have a material impact on financial results, the company said Monday.

TNT Express is still feeling effects of Petya, an information technology virus that was spread to TNT and other companies through a Ukrainian tax software product, FedEx said in a release.

No data breach or data loss to third parties is known to have occurred at this time, but TNT customers are still experiencing service and invoicing delays.

FedEx reported the cyber-attack June 28 and suspended trading of shares on the New York Stock Exchange for less than an hour that day.

"As of the date of this press release, all TNT depots, hubs and facilities are operational and most TNT services are available, but customers are still experiencing widespread service and invoicing delays, and manual processes are being used to facilitate a significant portion of TNT operations and customer service functions," FedEx said.

"We cannot estimate when TNT services will be fully restored. Contingency plans that make use of both FedEx Express and TNT networks remain in place to minimize the impacts to customers," a release added.

TNT Express, based in The Netherlands, was among European-based companies that reported interference with computer systems starting June 27.

FedEx bought TNT Express in 2016 for $4.9 billion, its largest ever acquisition.

FedEx said in its annual report, filed Monday, "While TNT Express operations have been restored and most TNT services are currently available, as of the date of this filing, we cannot estimate when TNT Express services will be fully restored."

"In addition, we cannot estimate how long it will take to restore the systems that were impacted and it is reasonably possible that TNT Express will be unable to fully restore all of the affected systems and recover all of the critical business data that...

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Microsoft's Cloud To Help Baidu Power Self-Driving Car Project
Microsoft and Baidu have signed a deal under which Microsoft's cloud-computing network will power the Chinese search giant's autonomous driving project outside of that country's borders.

Baidu earlier this month said Microsoft was among the more than 50 companies pitching in on its open-source Apollo driverless-car program, a bid to jump-start its autonomous-driving program.

Microsoft has taken a back seat in the highly competitive race to develop self-driving cars. Instead of building its own platform to wire the brains of cars or help them see the world around them, the Redmond company has offered its Azure network of on-demand data storage and computing power for other companies to use.

That neutral position has borne some fruit, with several automakers exploring using some portion of Microsoft's technology in autonomous vehicles.

The Renault-Nissan alliance is testing using Microsoft's Cortana voice-activated digital assistant in car entertainment systems, BMW uses Azure as the computing power behind a smartphone app, and Toyota's data-science and analytics subsidiary is plugged into Microsoft tools.

Few details were available on the latest partnership, announced in a news release Tuesday. Microsoft, the release said, "will provide global scale for Apollo outside of China with the Microsoft Azure cloud."

Baidu, which dominates the search market in China, in January hired as chief operating officer Qi Lu, a longtime Microsoft engineering executive who previously led the development of Bing. Lu left Microsoft in September to recover from a bicycle accident.

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Google Revives Glass with Enterprise Edition 2.0
Remember Google Glass, the computer-enabled eyewear that gave rise to terms like "glassholes" and inspired anti-surveillance startups like Cyborg Unplug? Well, after a hiatus of more than two years, Google's wearable is back in the public eye as an updated technology designed exclusively for use in the workplace.

This time around, the computer-enabled eyewear that creeped out many people in social situations has received a much more positive reception from professionals in factories, hospitals, shipping, and other industries, according to the company. So early today, Google announced that it's making a new Glass Enterprise Edition (pictured above) available to businesses through a variety of partner companies.

Those partner companies will provide Glass-based hardware, along with their own specially developed software for specific workplace needs, to business customers whose employees could benefit from hands-free computing.

Among the tasks the new enterprise version could be used for: allowing technicians to consult maintenance manuals without having to step away from their work; helping doctors focus on conversations with patients rather than having to take notes that must be manually typed later; and enabling logistics workers to know exactly where to find items for packing and shipping.

Enabling Faster, Easier Work

Since moving Glass development outside of its Google X experimental labs and halting consumer sales of the device to early-adopting "Explorers" in early 2015, Google has worked with numerous companies that have used the technology to make workplace tasks faster and easier.

GE, for example, one of the first enterprise users of Glass, has been working with Google partner Upskill to deploy the wearable in multiple workplace environments. According to GE, technicians at its Pensacola, Florida, facility have seen a 34-percent increase in productivity since using Glass with Upskill's Skylight platform to assemble wind turbines.

"Now, there are more than 50 businesses, including AGCO, DHL,...

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Waste Not, Want Not: Samsung To Harvest Note 7 Rare Metals
Samsung Electronics plans to recover gold and other metals and components from recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to reduce waste.

The South Korean company said Tuesday that it expects to retrieve 157 tons of gold, silver, cobalt, copper and other metals from millions of smartphones that were recalled and discontinued last year after their batteries were found to be prone to catching fire.

It didn't say how it would use the retrieved metals

The phones' display modules, memory chips, camera models and other components will be separated from the Note 7 for sale or recycling, Samsung said in a statement.

In another effort to reduce waste, Samsung has begun selling 400,000 units of Galaxy Note FE phones in South Korea made from unused parts of recalled Note 7 smartphones.

The Note 7 crisis was one of the biggest black eyes in Samsung's recent history, costing the company more than $5 billion. Airlines banned passengers from carrying Note 7s on flights due to safety concerns and millions of smartphones were shipped back to Samsung.

The phone recall fiasco prompted Greenpeace to urge the South Korean tech giant to sell longer lasting electronics products that are easier to repair and upgrade. Environmentalists fault smartphones for increasing the amount of tech waste, though some experts note that by replacing other appliances they may actually decrease the amount of high-tech-related rubbish overall. Samsung is the world's largest smartphone maker.

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Tesla Driver: Autopilot Not To Blame for Crash
A Tesla driver says his car's partially self-driving Autopilot system wasn't responsible for a crash in Minnesota, despite what he initially told investigators.

In its police report obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office said David Clark, 58, blamed Autopilot for a crash Saturday evening in Hawick, Minnesota. Clark initially told deputies that when he engaged the Autopilot feature, the car suddenly accelerated, left the roadway and overturned in a marsh. Clark and his passengers sustained minor injuries.

But in an email sent Monday afternoon to the sheriff's office, Clark said he was confused in the moments after the crash. After discussing the crash with his fellow passengers, he now believes that he disengaged Autopilot by stepping on the accelerator before the crash.

"I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel," Clark wrote in the email.

Clark confirmed to the AP that he sent the email.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla said it's investigating the incident and will cooperate with local authorities.

Autopilot automatically maintains a set speed, slows down and brakes in traffic and keeps the car within a lane. When drivers turn on the system, a message reminds them to remain engaged and be prepared to take the wheel. Drivers can take their hands off the wheel, but only for short periods. If they ignore three separate warnings to put their hands on the wheel, the system will turn off.

Federal safety regulators investigated Tesla's Autopilot last year after a fatal crash in Florida. In that case, a Tesla Model S hit a tractor-trailer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in January it found no safety defects in the...

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Facebook To Expand New Mexico Data Center
Facebook's plans for New Mexico now call for a half-billion-dollar investment and a data center that will span an area equal to 17 football fields.

Gov. Susana Martinez's office announced early Tuesday that the social media giant will be doubling its investment in the state with the planned expansion of its data center currently under construction near Los Lunas, a rural area just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest metropolitan area.

The governor praised the announcement, saying Facebook is among the state's key partners as it works to diversify its economy.

"New Mexico's powerful incentives are bringing more opportunities to our state -- once again ahead of schedule with more jobs and investment than initially anticipated," the governor said in a statement.

The news comes as New Mexico looks to turn the corner after a crippling budget crisis that stemmed from a downturn in the oil and natural gas sectors and an overall weak economy. The state also has struggled with high unemployment numbers, only recently ending its stretch at the top of the nation's jobless rankings.

Had it not been for the oil and gas downturn, Martinez has said New Mexico's over-the-year job growth in 2016 would have been the strongest it's been in a decade.

State officials and business owners have been scrambling in recent months to take advantage of the windfall expected to come from the data center during construction and once it's online in 2018. They're pushing for more high-tech industries in hopes of guarding against the volatility of the energy industry.

Facebook broke ground on the first building in October. It's expected to go live in late 2018.

The second building will likely keep construction crews busy through 2020.

Tom Furlong, Facebook's president of infrastructure, thanked the Martinez administration and the village of Los Lunas for their support and said the company continues to...

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Teradata Acquires StackIQ for Data Center Automation Tech
San Diego's StackIQ, which makes a platform to automate tasks in data centers and other giant computer clusters, said this week that it's been acquired by database analytics software provider Teradata Corp. for an undisclosed price.

Founded in 2006 by computer experts from the San Diego Supercomputer Center, StackIQ raised more than $10 million from investors over the years. The company is based in Solana Beach.

A Teradata spokeswoman declined to reveal how many workers StackIQ employs but said Teradata plans to add StackIQ's engineers to its team.

"As Teradata continues to expand its engineering R & D skills to drive ongoing technology innovation, we are seeking qualified, talented individuals to join our team," said Oliver Ratzesberger, chief product officer for Teradata. "StackIQ has set the bar with stellar engineers who we are honored to now call Teradata employees."

Teradata is based in Dayton, Ohio. But the company has a large footprint in San Diego, where it runs several corporate functions, including data center research and development. The facility in Rancho Bernardo is considered to one of Teradata's three primary locations in the U.S. -- along with Dayton and a campus near Atlanta.

Under terms of the deal, Teradata acquired StackIQ's technology that automates and accelerates software deployment across large clusters of computers -- both physical and in the cloud.

The technology reduces delivery times for complex software installation and updates at on-premises server farms, cloud-based data centers and virtual, software-based computing systems.

StackIQ was founded by Tim McIntire, Greg Bruno and Mason Katz. McIntire previously led the development team at the Digital Image Analysis Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Bruno and Katz came from the Supercomputer Center on UC San Diego's campus, where they helped develop the Rocks cluster toolkit -- an easy-to-use configuration/management package for large computer systems.

Formerly called Clustercorp, StackIQ was initially bootstrapped...

Wed, 19 Jul 17
Amazon Testing Out Geek Squad Competitor
For 15 years, Best Buy's Geek Squad installation and repair service has served as one key advantage over Amazon that the e-commerce giant seemed unlikely to match.

But over the last few months, Amazon has quietly been hiring an army of in-house gadget experts to offer free Alexa consultations as well as product installations for a fee inside customer homes, multiple sources told Recode, and job postings confirm.

The new offering, which has already rolled out in seven markets without much fanfare, is aimed at helping customers set up a "smart home" -- the industry term used to describe household systems like heating and lighting that can be controlled via apps, and increasingly by voice.

While Amazon has a marketplace for third parties to offer home services like TV mounting and plumbing, these new smart-home-related services seem important enough to Amazon that it is hiring its own in-house experts. And perhaps for good reason.

Smart-home gadgets make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the consumer electronics industry, but they can be difficult to set up and integrate with each other. That hurdle has led to higher-than-normal return rates, experts say, so Amazon is likely looking at the in-home services as one way to lower that number.

Perhaps more importantly, controlling the smart home by voice is one of the most promising use cases for Alexa, the virtual assistant built into the Echo line of gadgets, which Amazon is betting heavily on. So it's not totally surprising that Amazon would make the effort to close the education gap for these products by sending its own hires into customer homes.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.

Amazon is charging $99 for installation services like setting up an Ecobee4 Alexa-enabled smart thermostat, though some services are discounted by 20 percent this week. Multi-device set-ups that take more than an...

Tue, 18 Jul 17
IBM Z Mainframe Brings Encryption Super Powers
Aimed at enterprise customers facing increasing threats of data breaches, the new IBM Z mainframe features "breakthrough" encryption capabilities that can secure information in any cloud application or database at all times, the company said today.

The IBM Z (pictured above), which can handle more than 12 billion encrypted transactions every day, was designed following more than three years of input from information security executives, data security experts, and more than 150 company clients around the world. IBM said the mainframe brings "significant advances" in encryption capabilities for banks, healthcare providers, government agencies, and other users with critical data security needs.

IBM said its new mainframe is also aimed at helping organizations better meet new regulatory requirements such as New York state's cybersecurity guidelines for financial services companies or Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect next year.

Easier, Faster Data Protection

The average cost of an enterprise data breach comes to more than $3.6 million, according to the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study produced by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute. That's down 10 percent from the $4 million noted in last year's study, in part because of the current strength of the U.S. dollar. However, the risk of a material data breach continues to grow, with organizations facing a 27.7 percent likelihood of such an event over the next two years, the new study found.

The IBM Z offers pervasive encryption so users can quickly and easily encrypt bulk data at the cloud scale, IBM said. That's a switch from the previous approach to enterprise encryption, in which only a small amount of the total data handled is encrypted because of the complexity, cost and performance issues involved.

IBM cited research that shows only around 2 percent of corporate data today is encrypted, compared to more...

Tue, 18 Jul 17
U.S. Revamping Independent Military Cybercommand
After months of delay, the Trump administration is finalizing plans to revamp the nation's military command for defensive and offensive cyber operations in hopes of intensifying America's ability to wage cyberwar against the Islamic State group and other foes, according to U.S. officials.

Under the plans, U.S. Cyber Command would eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency.

Details are still being worked out, but officials say they expect a decision and announcement in the coming weeks. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter so requested anonymity.

The goal, they said, is to give U.S. Cyber Command more autonomy, freeing it from any constraints that stem from working alongside the NSA, which is responsible for monitoring and collecting telephone, internet and other intelligence data from around the world -- a responsibility that can sometimes clash with military operations against enemy forces.

Making cyber an independent military command will put the fight in digital space on the same footing as more traditional realms of battle on land, in the air, at sea and in space. The move reflects the escalating threat of cyberattacks and intrusions from other nation states, terrorist groups and hackers, and comes as the U.S. faces ever-widening fears about Russian hacking following Moscow's efforts to meddle in the 2016 American election.

The U.S. has long operated quietly in cyberspace, using it to collect information, disrupt enemy networks and aid conventional military missions. But as other nations and foes expand their use of cyberspying and attacks, the U.S. is determined to improve its ability to incorporate cyber operations into its everyday warfighting.

Experts said the command will need time to find its footing.

"Right now I think it's inevitable, but it's on a very slow glide path," said Jim Lewis, a cybersecurity expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.... All Rights Reserved.