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Equifax Says Unpatched Apache Struts Vulnerability Behind Massive Security Breach

Brought to you by IT Pro
Equifax officials said today that its massive security breach was possible via unpatched web application server vulnerability Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638, confirming what some in the security community expected to be the case last week when the news first broke.
In an update to its FAQ page on EquifaxSecurity2017.com, officials said it has been working with an independent cybersecurity firm to determine what information was accessed and which customers have been impacted.
Equifax announced last Thursday that personal information belonging to 143 million customers was accessed by hackers, in addition to credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers. Beyond facing its customers wrath in the days that have followed, Equifax is now also subject to an FTC investigation. 
“We know that criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability. The vulnerability was Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638. We continue to work with law enforcement as part of our criminal investigation, and have shared indicators of compromise with law enforcement,” Equifax said.
Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638 was made public on March 7, 2017, and a patch was made available that day. In a statement today, Apache said “the Equifax data compromise was due to their failure to install the security updates provided in a timely manner.”
Equifax discovered the breach on July 29 and didn’t disclose when it sought to patch the flaw, Bloomberg says.
In a blog post by Contrast

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IBM Makes Breakthrough in Race to Commercialize Quantum Computers

(Bloomberg) — Researchers at International Business Machines Corp. have developed a new approach for simulating molecules on a quantum computer.
The breakthrough, outlined in a research paper to be published in the scientific journal Nature Thursday, uses a technique that could eventually allow quantum computers to solve difficult problems in chemistry and electro-magnetism that cannot be solved by even the most powerful supercomputers today.
See also: These Are the 7 Smartest Companies in Cloud Computing
In the experiments described in the paper, IBM researchers used a quantum computer to derive the lowest energy state of a molecule of beryllium hydride. Knowing the energy state of a molecule is a key to understanding chemical reactions.
In the case of beryllium hydride, a supercomputer can solve this problem, but the standard techniques for doing so cannot be used for large molecules because the number of variables exceeds the computational power of even these machines.
The IBM researchers created a new algorithm specifically designed to take advantage of the capabilities of a quantum computer that has the potential to run similar calculations for much larger molecules, the company said.
The problem with existing quantum computers – including the one IBM used for this research — is that they produce errors and as the size of the molecule being analyzed grows, the calculation strays further and further from chemical accuracy. The inaccuracy in IBM’s

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Apple Is Said to Warn Ireland Delays Threaten $1 Billion Project

(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. has warned Irish authorities that continuing delays around its proposed data center in the west of the country could jeopardize the $1 billion project, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The iPhone maker, which scouted 19 countries before choosing Ireland, raised concern that the project remains mired in the planning process, according to the people who asked not be named because the matter is private. The plan to build a data center in a Galway forest, due to cover 166,000 square meters, the equivalent to about 23 soccer fields, close to the Atlantic coast was announced in 2015 and had been expected to be completed this year.
Instead, Apple is still awaiting a court hearing into a challenge by objectors into the planning approval for the project. The company is also worried that plans to power the center could also be contested, adding additional delays, though it hasn’t given Ireland a deadline for completing the process, according to one of the people.
Advocates of the Apple project say the delays illustrate a deeper issue: the difficulty executing large infrastructure developments in Ireland compared with other countries. Apple has almost completed a similar project in Denmark that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced simultaneously as part of its biggest-ever investment in Europe, and said in July it plans a second data center in the Scandinavian country.
In Ireland, the forestry site remains largely untouched, as

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Equifax Facing First State Suit After Massive Data Breach

(Bloomberg) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey put her state on track to be the first to sue Equifax Inc. over a massive data breach that affected about 143 million U.S. consumers, including 3 million in her state.
The lawsuit will allege that Equifax failed to maintain appropriate safeguards for the personal information in violation of state rules governing consumer protection and data privacy, Healey said Tuesday in a statement.
See also: Equifax Says Cyberattack May Have Hit 143 Million Customers
“This may be the most brazen failure to protect consumer data we have ever seen,” she said. “My office is acting as quickly as possible to hold Equifax accountable for the risks that millions of consumers now face.”
Ines Gutzmer, a spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Equifax, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The cyberattack at the credit-reporting firm, reported last week, may have compromised the personal data of almost half the U.S. population. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation last week, while Connecticut and other states have said they’d seek information about the breach.
The lawsuit will be the first of many by state attorneys general, with investigations by the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation likely to follow, said Jon Barooshian, a former prosecutor in Massachusetts who isn’t involved in the case.
“This is an egregious failure to protect personal data by one of

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HPE CEO Meg Whitman Joins Dropbox Board of Directors

HPE CEO Meg Whitman has joined the board of directors at Dropbox, according to a blog post by Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. Whitman will remain in her role with HPE, having left the board of HP Inc. in July.
Calling Whitman “a trusted friend and advisor to me for years,” Houston said that Whitman’s experience and judgment will help the company scale.
“Last year, we had the chance to work together when Dropbox partnered with HPE to build our own cloud infrastructure,” wrote Houston. “And since HPE is a Dropbox customer, Meg knows our products well.”
Dropbox’s decided to move mostly off of AWS, and partner with HPE in early 2016 after building out its own infrastructure for over two years. Since then, Dropbox has launched new points-of-presence in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and as of late last year was storing 90 percent of customer data on its custom-built “Magic Pocket” architecture.
Whitman was reportedly a finalist for the position of new CEO of Uber in August, before the company selected Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. She has previously served on the boards of several organizations, including the eBay Foundation, Goldman Sachs, and currently sits on the board of directors at Zipcar and Procter & Gamble. She was also the Republican nominee for Governor of California in 2010.
Dropbox secured a $600 million credit facility earlier this year, Bloomberg reports, and is rumored to be preparing for an initial public offering as soon as this year, and

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Cloud and the Consumption Model: Does it Make Sense?

I feel like I’m having this conversation on an almost daily basis. Organizations want to move to cloud, modernize their data centers, and find news ways to create efficiency and infrastructure savings. Cloud computing has been a great way to make this happen. Moving to a subscription-type model isn’t only limited to software or cloud solutions. Organizations can now leverage hybrid cloud options and offload entire data center operations into an OPEX model.
Growth around cloud will only continue to increase. Specifically, IT spending is steadily shifting from traditional IT offerings to cloud services (cloud shift), according to Gartner. The aggregate amount of cloud shift in 2016 rose to $111 billion, and is projected to increase to $216 billion in 2020.
Furthermore, Gartner analysts said that by 2020, cloud, hosting and traditional infrastructure services will come in more or less at par in terms of spending.
“As the demand for agility and flexibility grows, organizations will shift toward more industrialized, less-tailored options,” said DD Mishra, research director at Gartner. “Organizations that adopt hybrid infrastructure will optimize costs and increase efficiency. However, it increases the complexity of selecting the right toolset to deliver end-to-end services in a multisourced environment.”
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90 percent of organizations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities.
There is no question that IT and

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Rackspace Adds Multi-Cloud Heft with Datapipe Acquisition

Rackspace has reached an agreement to acquire managed services competitor Datapipe, expanding its management capabilities for multiple clouds at scale, according to an announcement today.
The deal is the largest acquisition Rackspace has ever made “by far,” according to CEO Joe Eazor, and brings to it Datapipe’s experience with high-profile public sector customers in the U.S. and U.K., as well as enterprise services, software, and tooling, and colocation services on four continents, to help customers migrate away from corporate data centers.
It also boosts Rackspace data center presence on the U.S. West Coast, and in Brazil, mainland China, and Russia, all large markets where the company currently has little or no presence. Finally, it gives Rackspace managed services on the Alibaba Cloud.
“The reason we’re buying them is that we want to extend our leadership in multi-cloud services,” Rackspace chief strategy officer Matt Bradley told TechCrunch. “It’s a sign and signal that we’re going for it.” Bradley also said that the combined company will be the largest provider both of private cloud and managed hosting. It will have over 6,700 employees, and $2.4 billion in annual revenue, TechCrunch reports.
Datapipe customers gain Rackspace’s experience with Microsoft, VMware and OpenStack clouds, Managed Google Compute Platform, and managed enterprise applications such as Oracle and SAP.
“Our customers are looking for help as they spread their

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Cloud and Web Hosting Industry Trends in Private Equity Investment

As the web hosting and cloud computing markets mature, the mix of companies achieving success in raising venture capital has changed. The industry has attracted well over a billion dollars in investment so far in 2017. However, most successful funding rounds have been focused on software rather than infrastructure.
With Dropbox said to be preparing for an IPO, motivation to find the next internet service unicorn remains high.
At the same time, funds like the initiative launched in May by Cisco, Emery and Texas Tech to support enterprise software and cloud computing companies in Europe show the continuing emergence of non-traditional investment groups in the industry. The fund, managed by Notion Capital, is expected to invest in roughly 20 early-stage companies during the next decade. Startups can leverage the resources of programs like incubators, which can sometimes reduce or delay the need for capital, and some governments offer grants not only for startups, but also for expanding technology companies.
By considering recent funding rounds announced in the industry, several possible trends can be identified. Indeed, it’s important to understand the market for investment in the industry in order to make difficult business decisions about finance strategy.
Cloud Management and Security
The most active area of investment in the cloud and hosting ecosystem appears to be cloud management and security. Tools to provide control and visibility are popular among organizations

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Small Spanish Telco Becomes Investor Darling as Rivals Droop

(Bloomberg) — Europe’s best-performing telecom stock this year has nowhere near the name recognition of competitors such as Telefonica SA, Orange SA or Vodafone Group Plc.
Yet Masmovil Ibercom SA, based in San Sebastian, Spain, has outdone them all, earning its place as the country’s fourth national carrier through acquisitions, debt, investments in fiber-optic broadband and aggressive pricing. The shares have more than doubled this year, compared with a 3.4 percent decline for the 21-member Stoxx Telecom Index.
Investors flocking to a small carrier with barely no broadband of its own in a country that already boasts Europe’s largest fiber network may seems counter-intuitive. But Masmovil is attracting interest by pitching itself as a low-cost provider in a country where the three big players appear more focused on seeking high-spending consumers.
The carrier’s growth is driven by a straightforward marketing strategy: a no-frills offering that doesn’t include pricier content such as soccer combined with mobile and fiber packages that are among the cheapest in the market. Masmovil also has an aggressive fiber deployment strategy, centered around the construction of a broadband network mainly in small towns and rural areas overlooked by the country’s largest carriers. A wholesale agreement with Orange helps it cover larger, urban areas.
Though rivals are beginning to counter Masmovil’s prices with their own low-cost offerings, most analysts aren’t

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As Irma Heads for Florida, One Miami Data Center is Especially Critical

Brought to you by Data Center Knowledge
While data center providers in Houston weathered Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding without any publicly disclosed outages, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm headed for Florida, will be another stress test for the internet and private network infrastructure in the South. And because of Florida’s strategic importance to network connectivity, the stakes will be higher when Irma makes landfall in the Sunshine State, which the National Weather Service says will happen Sunday.
If some buildings in Irma’s path lose power, the effects on connectivity could ripple well beyond the region that immediately surrounds it. One particular building is especially critical.
Related: After Days at Work, Houston Data Center Staff Finally Went Home
NAP of the Americas, the Miami data center and carrier hub, is the biggest network gateway between the US and Latin America, and companies in the US that rely on it alone to serve customers south of the border would not be able to reach those customers if it goes offline. In addition to being a cross-continental gateway, Miami, and especially the NAP, serves as the primary interconnection hub for most Latin American networks.
“Miami appears to be the only strategically critical communications node in the hurricane’s path,” Jon Hjembo, senior analyst at the telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography, said. “From a network perspective, what’s so worrisome about Irma targeting

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