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Brislen on Tech

Paul Brislen, Editor. 03 March 2017, 1:00 pm

Who knew [security] could be so complicated?

First Cloudbleed exposed private details to the world instead of protecting five million websites from denial of service attacks and then the bears began spying on their human masters (insert "big pause"/"I shall kill you with my bear hands"/"bearly believable"/"In the Pooh" jokes here) and that was all before Wednesday. Security, it seems, isn't as easy as (for example) the US healthcare system.

And to round out a week of security-related nonsense, the board of Yahoo! (presumably the board! of Yahoo!) censured the CEO to the tune of US$12 million for her part in two whopping great security breaches but laid the blame squarely at the feet of her chief legal counsel, which really does seem to fly in the face of the "buck stops here" mentality of yore.

Maybe I'm being old fashioned but if a company fails to do something so basic in such a spectacular fashion, the CEO should fix the problem and then resign. See also Volkswagon or BP (mind you, he didn't so much go as shoot himself in the back of the head and dump his own body in an alleyway so maybe my analogy doesn't stack up).

However, that's not the way of the US mega-CEO and so it is that the lawyer gets canned while the boss gets to carry on. Of course, with Yahoo! being mostly in the Toilet! these days, and Verizon has lined up to buy the once mighty web 1.0 superpower, but the security breaches dented its confidence in the deal so much that it has knocked US$350M off the sale price. Yahoo!'s board has agreed so clearly everyone is getting some kind of sale-based bonus when the dust settles.

Oh to be an investor in the internet.

Techblog - Cloudbleed - first major privacy compromise of 2017

Techblog - IoT - bearly secure?

Mercury News - Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer stripped of bonus after probe reveals high-level knowledge of huge hack





Cloud cuckoo land

And so it came to pass that Amazon did move on from selling books and decided it could sell bits just as well and lo! A mighty empire was founded and Jeff did buy the Washington Post to better smite his enemies and Amazon became a giant among cloud providers, offering service far and wide including to New Zealand companies that wanted to use the internet.

(as a diversion, is it just me or do we now use "cloud" almost interchangeably with "web" much as we used to use "net"?)

Unfortunately, despite the US Department of Defense designing the internet to be bomb proof, in practice we have large tracts of the web/cloud/net thing located under one umbrella and when something goes wrong it can cause a lot of bother for a lot of people.

In this case, Amazon Web Services (AWS) spent four hours fighting "increased error rates" which knocked a large part of the web offline for the duration, including Uber, Instagram, Xero and many others.

Eventually Amazon got it all back up and running, albeit with bits of string and some Sellotape (or the digital equivalents) and things have returned to normal. Well, what passes for normal in the online world. It's at times like these that you really get to find out who your friends are and in business it rapidly becomes apparent that there are no such things. Google and Microsoft immediately leapt to help out by offering cheap deals to migrate to the cloud. Their version of the cloud of course.

It brings a tear to one's eye, it does.

NBR - Xero, Instagram, other services hit by widespread AWS outage

The Register - $310m AWS S3-izure: Why everyone put their eggs in one region

The Register - AWS's S3 outage was so bad Amazon couldn't get into its own dashboard to warn the world

The Register - Tuesday's AWS 'S3izure' exposes Amazon-sized internet bottleneck

Computerworld - Inside Xero's mammoth cloud migration

Snapchat madness

And finally, if that doesn't all make you despair and lie rocking in a corner (hopefully holding on to your internet-enabled teddy bear for comfort), Snapchat has launched its initial public offering.

The online messaging service that is so beloved of those wanting to share intimate photos but more frequented by pre-teens using the company's filters to take funny photos of themselves has yet to earn a single penny of profit, but its share listing looks set to hit the market at around US$25 billion. (EDITOR'S NOTE: At the time of writing, the share price has increased 40% from US$17 a share to US$24 a share - closer to US$33 billion on launch)

Assuming it doesn't evaporate as fast as a Snapchat photo, that makes Snapchat the biggest tech IPO of them all, outflanking Google, Facebook and the other behemoths that have lurched into our world view in recent years.

Facebook has gone from strength to strength and is now valued at around US$400 billion (a figure which surely beggars belief) and which has led to a flood of "is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg going to run for president?" stories, which are now being knocked back as fast as his publicists can type. After all, when your company is worth that much, do you really care who the president of any country is? I suspect not.

Indian Express - Snapchat parent passes big test: IPO above expectation

Dallas News - Snapchat is about to get very real, but why $16 a share seems hard to believe

The Atlantic - Zuckerberg 2020?

The Guardian - Is Mark Zuckerberg considering a US president bid? Don't count on it


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