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Sad reality: It's cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses

Whenever mega-hacks like the Yahoo! fiasco hit the news, inevitably the question gets asked as to why the IT security systems weren't good enough. The answer could be that it's not in a company's financial interest to be secure. A study by the RAND Corporation, published in the Journal of Cybersecurity, looked at the frequency …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2016
couch_potato_remote_control_surfer

DDoSers do it more now, but they do it less fiercely*

The number of distributed denial of service attacks has doubled over the last 12 months. Akamai reports that Q2 saw a 129 per cent year-on-year increase in total DDoS attacks. During the second quarter, Akamai mitigated a total of 4,919 attacks, one of which (against a media company) reached an eye-watering 363n Gbps. Although …
John Leyden, 15 Sep 2016

Meet DDoSaaS: Distributed Denial of Service-as-a-Service

Analysis It’s not often an entirely new and thriving sector of the “digital economy” – one hitherto unmentioned by the popular press – floats to the surface of the lake in broad daylight, waving a tentacle at us. This is the DDoS-for-hire industry, and it’s fascinating for a few reasons. This shady marketplace has done everything a …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Sep 2016
UK pound crashes after Brexit

Brexit? We have heard of this, says Dixons Carphone CEO

The UK's vote to leave the European Union has not dampened UK shoppers’ gadget lust, according to Dixons Carphone, which has reported a four per cent year-on-year hike in Q1 sales for the 13 weeks ended 30 July. The consumer electronics and mobile tech borg, created in 2014, saw sales bounce across the entire group – led for …
Paul Kunert, 08 Sep 2016

Corporates ARE sniffing around Windows 10, says Computacenter

Bulky corporate enterprise punters are starting to fall for the, ahem, charms of Windows 10, Computacenter's chief executive claimed today as he flashed his firm’s calendar first half-year trading figures. Mike Norris, boss of the London-listed services-based reseller, said the pending contract sign-off for managed services …
Paul Kunert, 26 Aug 2016

Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea

Updated Microsoft leaked the golden keys that unlock Windows-powered tablets, phones and other devices sealed by Secure Boot – and is now scrambling to undo the blunder. These skeleton keys can be used to install non-Redmond operating systems on locked-down computers. In other words, on devices that do not allow you to disable Secure …
Chris Williams, 10 Aug 2016
Cash register, photo via Shutterstock

Big Red alert: Oracle's MICROS payment terminal biz hacked

Hackers infected hundreds of computers within Oracle, infiltrated the support portal for its MICROS payment terminals division, and potentially accessed sales registers all over the world. The miscreants installed malware on the troubleshooting portal to capture customers' usernames and passwords as they logged in. These …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Aug 2016
Customer service motivation cube

What's Niu? No longer profitable, revenues down... but we're hiring!

Once-profitable managed services business Niu Solutions is now burning cash and CEO Shaun Ledgerwood reckons the company will take three years to get back in the black. Based in Surrey, Niu Solutions flogs services to the retail and financial sectors, collecting monthly fees on contracts ranging from one to five years. …
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Microsoft buries the bad Windows Phone news: Mobile sales collapse

Microsoft has revealed how badly its Windows phone business has crashed via paperwork filed with America's financial regulator, the SEC. Nokia was shipping 7.3 million Lumias per quarter when the deal to acquire its phone unit was announced in September 2013. Nokia was shipping over 90 per cent of Windows Phones sold. But in …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2016
Reese witherspoon as Elle Woods from the film Legally Blonde. Photo copyright MGM Studios

Openreach to split from BT... so they'll be 'Legally Separate'

UK comms regulator Ofcom has said today Openreach must become a "legally" separate company from BT – with its own independent board – under plans to reform the former state monopoly's infrastructure division. In February, Ofcom identified serious failings with BT's ownership model of Openreach. However, it stopped short of …
Kat Hall, 26 Jul 2016
The big split

Systemax flogs German sub to CANCOM

The break up of Systemax’s European operations may have just started after it brokered a “definitive agreement” to sell the Misco German subsidiary to CANCOM for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the deal, staff and customer lists will be transferred to the new owner. The deal is subject to closing conditions and is …
Paul Kunert, 25 Jul 2016
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft Azure doubles up to $800m a quarter – and is wiped out by dying phone sales

Analysis All eyes were on Microsoft's cloud business today as it published its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results. Amid the numbers, Redmond boasted that its Azure revenues from the quarter were up 102 per cent year-on-year – we estimate the cloud service's revenue to be about $800m in total for the period. Meanwhile, …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2016

Big Blue's boxes: No IBM storage numbers, but it's a drop

+Comment The storage hardware portion of IBM's quarterly revenues continued its long-term decline, with a 13 per cent annual drop. It's a nice welcome for incoming storage boss Ed Walsh with the storage hardware decline glaringly obvious. We don't know the storage software numbers within IBM's systems segment, and nor do we know …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jul 2016
Upset man in suit and drinking liquor. Photo by Shutterstock

One in five consumers upgraded to Win10 for free instead of buying a PC

Microsoft’s free upgrade of Windows 10 hit PC makers where it hurt though the extent of this was apparently a surprise to the software giant, data druids at Gartner have claimed. According to a survey by the holders of the Magic Quadrant, one in five consumers that upgraded to the free version of the OS decided they didn’t …
Paul Kunert, 15 Jul 2016
Partnership

IBM caps '20 years' of deep MS love with Surface deal

IBM has become the latest sometime hardware giant to agree to push software giant Microsoft’s client hardware - years after selling off its own client devices business. MS device marketing general manager Brian Hall said in a blog post that IBM had joined the Surface Enterprise Initiative along with consultancy and contracting …
Joe Fay, 12 Jul 2016

Dixons, UK's fifth 'emergency service', brushes off Brexit scare stories

Dixon Carphone - which, god help us, wants to become the fifth emergency service in the UK - this morning played down the personal impact of market “volatility” that a post-Brexit vote will “inevitably” cause as it reported bumper profits for fiscal ’16. The retailer said like-for-like group sales edged up three per cent year- …
Paul Kunert, 29 Jun 2016
Tabby cat cuddles roll of one-hundred dollar bills. Photo by Shutterstock

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

The private equity profiteers behind Maplin Electronics have turned the screws on suppliers to hand over bigger rebates to help pay for physical and digital store improvements or risk having their kit sidelined. The geek fiddlers emporium was sold to Rutland Partners for £85m almost two years ago when the investor promised “ …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jun 2016
Credit card theft

You Acer holes! PC maker leaks payment cards in e-store hack

Acer's insecure customer database spilled people's personal information – including full payment card numbers – into hackers' hands for more than a year. The PC maker has started writing to customers [PDF] warning that their personal records were siphoned off from its online store by crooks between May 12, 2015 and April 28, …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Jun 2016
recruitment_hired

Dabs founder Dave Atherton returns to techland

Dave Atherton, the founder, one-time CEO and owner at Dabs has returned to the IT industry as chairman of distributor Entatech, with a turnaround mission in mind. Atherton, who sold his online tat bazaar to BT for £24m a decade ago, has since worked on numerous projects including property development and more recently a site …
Paul Kunert, 15 Jun 2016
Virgin Media Tivo

Tivo's new owner ponders binning its own boxes

Tivo's new owner Rovi has hinted that it might get out of box retailing and focus on software and services. The source of the news is an SEC filing that records a presentation Rovi made to analyst firm Cowen and Company's Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. The document details Rovi chief financial officer Peter Halt's …
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

Mega UK distributor DCC Tech: 2016 was our annus horribilis

The once seemingly unstoppable distribution juggernaut DCC Technology hit some unmovable barriers in fiscal ’16 caused by slumping tab and smartphone sales and the loss of a retail gig. The parent of UK trading arm Exertis admitted today it had endured a "very difficult year". The LSE listed firm still managed to bump up …
Paul Kunert, 17 May 2016
BT Openreach at work

Comms providers call on Ofcom to get tough on Openreach

Communications providers Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone have called on Ofcom to dramatically reform BT's Openreach in a "10 point plan" published today. The action plan published by membership body the Federation of Communication Services (FCS) follows a decision by Ofcom not to recommend a structural separation of Openreach …
Kat Hall, 16 May 2016
Woman pays for something online with her credit card. Photo by Shutterstock

Experian Audience Engine knows almost as much about you as Google

We have grown so used to credit reference giants like Experian knowing almost as much about us as Google, but unlike Google, they put this information up for sale. This is perhaps why we have forgotten that Experian could form the basis of one of the most powerful personal intelligence systems in the world. And that it is a …
Faultline, 09 May 2016
Pennies in a jar. Photo via Shutterstock

Long term sick-note abuser Misco not losing nearly as much money

A pinkish hue has yet to return to the cheeks of sickly European reseller Misco but its latest financials indicate the patient is finally out of intensive care - the same cannot be said of its parent. Most of Misco’s vital statistics improved in calendar Q1, all but sales which slipped 5.3 per cent to $258.2m - or were down a …
Paul Kunert, 04 May 2016

Argos defection to Tech Data whips Ingram Micro's bottom... line

The loss of a retail supply contract with Argos helped push Ingram Micro’s European sales growth into the barrier’s during car crash Q1 financials. The US-headquartered tech distributor reported sales of $2.66bn on this side of the pond for the period ended 31 March. This was down 13.35 per cent year-on-year. Ingram is being …
Paul Kunert, 03 May 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon's AWS cash machine embiggens, breezes past $2bn-a-quarter mark

Amazon has reported bumper first quarter results, with profits of $513m and sales increasing 28 per cent. In its previous quarterly results Amazon's stock took a beating after the company reported a lower than expected sales. After Thursday's results, the company was back in favor and saw its stock price rise over 10 per cent …
Iain Thomson, 28 Apr 2016
Walking on water, image via Shutterstock

Ding-dong, reality calling: iPhone slump is not Apple's doom

The sky is not falling. This is not as bad for Apple as 2003 or 1996. But neither does Apple walk on water. For the first time in 13 years, Apple’s reported falling revenue – down 13 per in the last three months to $50.6bn. Cruelly, it was the growth engine that was winding down: iPhone sales fell for the first time in the …
Gavin Clarke, 27 Apr 2016

12,000 chopped: Intel finds its inner paranoid

Only the Paranoid Survive, or so former Intel chief executive Andy Grove once wrote. And it seems that, faced with the demise of the PC market, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has found his inner Andy Grove. Grove, who died last month aged 79, left both an awesome business record and some great quotes behind him. While Intel co- …
European flag with sad face

Brexit would pinch UK tech spend but the EU wouldn't care – survey

If the United Kingdom chooses to leave the European Union – a so-called “Brexit” - Europe's information technology industries would not bat an eyelid and IT spending in the sceptred isles would only experience a “mildly negative” dip. That's the consensus opinion to which analyst outfit IDC is putting its name after polling …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Apr 2016
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Fujitsu Tech Products overhauls direct sales team's pay

Fujitsu’s Technology Products Group (FTPG) says it is going to pay its end user sales team the same amount regardless of whether they transact business via resellers or cut out the middlemen. This is one of the levers the new look team team over at FTPG is pulling to grow business while containing costs, and breaking down the …
Paul Kunert, 13 Apr 2016

Cutting edge security: Expensive kit won't save you

We all want to protect our customer and employee data, but as the threat landscape changes and the publicly disclosed data breaches get increasingly larger, our approach may need to change. What constitutes "state of the art" information security in 2016? It’s tempting to create a listicle of 10 shiny new security tools that …
Danny Bradbury, 13 Apr 2016
hacker

What exactly is it that infosec miscreants get up to? A quick overview

If corporate IT infrastructures are a battlefield, then the cybercriminals are putting up a good fight. Last year saw some nasty breaches. Anthem Insurance, which lost nearly 80 million records, and the US Office of Personnel Management, which lost 21 million records after failing to encrypt its records. Cybercriminals are …
Danny Bradbury, 13 Apr 2016
Amazon under a cloud

IT suppliers: Amazon is starting to pay its debts. Some of them, anyway

Amazon has presented irate distributors and vendors with a deal that will see them receive some payment for historical disputed deliveries stretching back a year. As we exclusively revealed last month, suppliers are battling the retail giant to get paid for orders they claimed were delivered from the spring of 2015. The …
Paul Kunert, 13 Apr 2016
Three store maidenhead

Ofcom wants you to thank it for resurrecting the spectre of BT's 1980s monopoly

Comment Years ago, we used to mock Ofcom for its Ofcom-branded bottled water, and its tediously technocratic “evidence based” approach, something which is actually enshrined in the 2002 Act that created it. Throughout its first decade, Ofcom chief execs stood regally above the fray, knowing that a regulator’s decision must be …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Apr 2016

UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

Britain's competition regulator has written to Brussels to put the brakes on the proposed £10.25bn merger between Three and O2 unless a fourth mobile operator is proposed. In a letter to Europe's competition chief Margarethe Vestager, chief executive of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Alex Chisholm, reiterated the …
Kat Hall, 11 Apr 2016
Toilet roll printed with fake US $100 bills

HP Inc won't shake you down for ink in 3D printer era, says CTO

Interview HP Inc is threatening to bring an era of open platforms to 3D printing, one it claims will turn the well used – and much criticised – ink toner supplies biz model on its head. So how exactly does HP expect to print money when it is actually using thermo-plastics? There's one buzz word on the tip of the CTO's tongue – …
Paul Kunert, 23 Mar 2016

Micro Focus spends $540m to add Serena its software brand museum

Micro Focus International is splashing out $540m to scoop up Serena Software – or more specifically, its recurring maintenance revenues, to add to its stable of once great, now slightly dusty software brands. LSE-listed mainframe specialist Micro Focus is simultaneously raising $216m in a placing to help pay for the deal, …
Joe Fay, 22 Mar 2016
Apple iPod touch

Apple's largest UK reseller Jigsaw24 is for sale

The UK’s largest Apple reseller, Jigsaw24, is for sale, multiple industry contacts have told The Channel. The Nottingham-based B2B seller has hired Deloitte to run the process, a move that comes just three years after private equity outfit NorthEdge Capital (NEC) moved in to back a roll up by the management team. In recent …
Paul Kunert, 18 Mar 2016
A fix for the troubled Windows 10 Start menu

Hey Windows 10, weren't you supposed to help PC sales?

Very few if any ever thought Windows 10 would truly reinvigorate the PC industry, and they were right - IDC has pulled down forecasts on traditional device sales for 2016. The analyst has clipped unit expectations by a couple of per cent, claiming global notebooks and desktops shipments into channels are now on course to …
Paul Kunert, 14 Mar 2016
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

SAP backs UK remaining in the EU ahead of vote

Exclusive SAP, Europe’s largest native software firm, boasting annual revenue of 20.8bn euros, has come out in favour of Britain remaining a member of the EU. The industry’s largest maker of business software told The Register that Britain’s membership of the European Union would benefit both sides. Part of the Germany-based firm's …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Mar 2016

Systemax bleeds cash, reports $100m net loss for 2015

The cost of exiting its North America reseller biz propelled Systemax’s net losses to nearly $100m in calendar 2015 - but European ops might just be finally showing some signs of recovery. The supplier, in the midst of a turnaround strategy, offloaded the Technology Group reseller biz in December to PCM for $14m but then …
Paul Kunert, 09 Mar 2016
Graph of US dollar going up CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/ 401kcalculator.org.

LCD price fixing settlement helps sweeten Tech Data's bottom line

A $35m settlement from LCD vendors over price fixing coupled with some general belt tightening on operating costs helped Tech Data bank a double digit profit bounce in Q4 of fiscal ’16. The world’s second largest tech distributor reported sales of $7.48bn for the three months ended 31 January, up two per cent year-on-year. In …
Paul Kunert, 04 Mar 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Irate IT distributors chase Amazon over unpaid bills

Exclusive Amazon has a bad rep among some Brits for avoiding taxes but it seems the company isn’t winning any fans among its supplier base locally either. Multiple tech distributors and vendors have told us they are fighting tooth and nail with the retail giant to get paid for historic deliveries it has disputed, potentially amounting …
Paul Kunert, 01 Mar 2016
Files in manager's desk drawers: manila folder marked "Redundancies". Image via shutterstock

IBM is to cut more than 1 in 8 from its UK Labs, say sources

IBM is taking the knife to the UK Labs team with more than one in eight staffers expected to get the chop, insiders have told us. The “Resource Actions” are expected to see 123 out of 900 divisional employees get made redundant following the start of a 45-day redundancy notice period. An Employee Consultation Committee has …
Paul Kunert, 29 Feb 2016
Man runs as a fire engine pulls up to a burning building. Pic by Shutterstock

Official: Toshiba pulls out of European consumer PC market

Exclusive Scandal-hit Toshiba is slashing jobs across Europe as it beats a retreat from the region’s consumer PC market. Retailers are honouring existing orders for the first quarter of this year but are not placing any further ones, sources told us. Staff have been notified of the planned redundancies and a number put at risk. “We are …
Paul Kunert, 26 Feb 2016
trolley_shopping_648

Claranet swallows AWS MSP for web apps fun and frolics

Managed services and hosting player Claranet has hoovered up small but perfectly formed AWS channel partner Bashton Ltd for an undisclosed sum. This is the third buy Claranet has made including LinuxIT and Techgate since it refinanced in March of last year. Warrington-based Bashton specialises in selling managed services to …
Paul Kunert, 22 Feb 2016
HP Elite x3 and HP Mobile Extender

HP Inc Elite X3: Windows 10 phablet for enterprise-y types

MWC16 HP Inc has unveiled a big bet re-entry into the handheld device market, banking on enterprise’s attachment to the Windows ecosystem to blur the memory of its previous forays and retreats into the space. The vendor will unveil its Elite x3 phablet at MWC, a six inch-high, 7.8mm thick phablet, along with a desktop dock to …
Paul Kunert, 21 Feb 2016

Public enemies: Azure, Amazon, Google, Oracle, OpenStack, SoftLayer will murder private IT

Analysis On-premises IT is facing decimation by six public cloud enemies: Amazon, Azure, Google, OpenStack, Oracle and SoftLayer, who are on course to have the majority of customers' IT spend by 2018. An Internet retailer, started up as an online book store, and a website search facility have kickstarted an IT phenomenon which could …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

Amazon is taking a beating on Wall Street as the retail and cloud giant posted numbers that, although strong, were short of analyst expectations. The house of Bezos saw its stock price fall 13 per cent after the release of its quarterly and full-year financials. However, Amazon noted large gains in key areas, including the AWS …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jan 2016
Still from Stand By Me movie. Pie eating contest

SanDisk struggles to fatten itself up ahead of WD takeover

A final growth quarter but revenue declines on the annual compare, amid falling annual revenues, end a tough year for SanDisk as it prepares to be acquired by WD. Final 2015 quarter revenues were $1.54bn, 11.5 per cent on the year-ago quarter, although they were 6.2 per cent higher than the third 2015 quarter. This beat Wall …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jan 2016

Opinion

Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Stranded_ships

Chris Mellor

Thousands of layoffs announced as spinning rust enters its death spiral

Features

STRASBOURG, JUNE 29, 2016: The seat of the European Parliament. by Marco Aprile for shutterstock. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Plan b, image via Shutterstock
EU workers, new markets: post-Brexit pressure on May & Co
Tough question, pic via Shutterstock
Honest mistake with your licensing? Audit police look at it on a 'case by case basis'