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Hot News in IT this week

Simon Eskow, TechBlog Editor. 21 November 2014, 7:00 am

Some highlights from the last seven days in IT News...

Broadband Update

The latest figures released by Communications Minister Amy Adams indicate a 40 per cent quarter-to-quarter increase in Unified Fast Broadband connections. Computerworld reports that in the three months to September 2014, 15,500 more end users connected to UFB, bringing the total to 55,000. The recent stats push the national uptake of UFB to 10 per cent, from seven per cent in the previous quarter. What that boils down to is 10 per cent of the 536,000 customers within reach of broadband are now connected. The minister's statement also highlighted that Te Awamutu became the second town in New Zealand to have its UFB build complete, and 2,200 schools now have fibre installed and ready for service.

Computerworld: Half million Kiwis Can Now Connect

NPR: 10 per cent within reach now hooked up to UFB


New competition for RealMe

An Australian company called edentiti has teamed up with Wellington identity verification company Personal Information Management to roll out a greenID online identity service, Computerworld's Randal Jackson reports. The two companies plan to emerge their respective technologies for a new iteration of greenID to come out in the first quarter of 2015. The greenID is already used by several New Zealand customers for particular services, including NZ Post, which also happened to have co-developed RealMe. PIM already has access to New Zealand government databases through an arrangement with the Department of Internal Affairs, and has formed a relationship with the Automobile Association. RealMe is used as a one-time sign in across multiple online government services. Computerworld mentions, without going into detail, that users have faced complications in the RealMe signup process, and that enrolment has been less than anticipated. Earlier this year, an Australian government paper suggested that Canberra copy the RealMe system as a way as an alternative to the 20 or so online verification schemes employed by federal agencies.

Computerworld: Gov't-backed RealMe Faces Stiff Competition

Interest: Aussie Gov't Eyes Potential Use for NZ's RealMe


Tech Priorities in 2015

A Gartner survey puts BI and analytics tied for the top technology priorities for CIOs looking ahead to 2015. The global survey, which included 161 respondents from Australia and New Zealand, ranked cloud and mobile near the top of the list for ANZ CIOs, followed by infrastructure, data centre, and ERP. Security and legacy architecture were further down the ANZ list. According to TechDay, Gartner analysis shows ANZ organisations are slightly behind the curve in terms of some technology trends. Meanwhile according to a survey by Computerworld, 24 per cent of US employers plan to add more IT people. According to its 2015 forecast, the top five skills in demand next year will be in programming/application development, project management, IT help desk, security, and web development. Computerworld's survey ranks BI/Analytics at number seven, with 24 per cent of respondents to hire for that skill in the next 12 months, moving up from No. 8 in the 2014 forecast.

TechDay: BI and Analytics Top Kiwi CIO Tech Priorities List

Computerworld: 10 Hottest IT Skill for 2015


Palantir Hires ex- tech industry group CEO

Candace Kinser, formerly the CEO of vendor-based industry group NZTech (previously NZICT), has taken a lead NZ role with analytics company Palantir Technologies, one of the main competitors to New Zealand's own Wynyard Group. Kinser headed NZTech, in which the US-based Palantir is a member, for three years before taking the "leverage lead" position in October, as Computerworld describes it. Palantir, named for a magical orb from The Lord of The Rings universe, provides a platform for customers to analyse data across multiple "silos" and can incorporate geospatial technology, large scale data mining, algorithmic engines and data integration. Palantir technology is deployed across multple sectors in 100+ countries, and according to Computerworld, has plans to hire engineers and developers in New Zealand. Palantir is now considered one of the most valuable private companies in technology, with a reported valuation of US$9 billion.

Computerworld: Ex NZ Tech CEO Heads Up Local Operations for Palantir

Fortune: Palantir Raises $50 Million in New Funding


A Botnet Evolution

A Trojan program behind a long running instant message spam and rogue ticket purchase botnet has been updated to become stealthier and more resilient, according to multiple reports. Analysts in the US are claiming that the botnet could be used to launch targeted attacks against corporate networks through infected devices that can be used as proxies. The mobile Trojan was discovered in 2012 and was the first Android malware to be distributed as a drive-by download from compromised websites, according to PC World. Devices visiting such sites would automatically start downloading a malicious .apk file and execute by a single click if the user has enabled unknown sources on their mobile. The NotCompatible.C botnet has been used to send spam major networks and platforms in the US, and to launch a brute-force password guessing attack against WordPress sites. Researchers believe that the botnet is likely rented to other cybercriminals for different activities.

PC World: Botnet Evolves, Posing Potential Corporate Network Threat

Dark Reading: The Rise of the Resilient Mobile Botnet


The Not So Great Firewall of China

Considering more than a quarter of the world's internet users--about 630 million people--live in China, it makes sense for that continent sized nation to host the World Internet Conference. The government's sophisticated censorship programme, however, gives one pause, especially as China seeks to gain more influence in global Internet governance. As more than 1,000 participants from over 100 countries and regions gathered in Wuzhen on Wednesday, the host government was shutting down access to EdgeCast, an affiliate of US-based Verizon. EdgeCast provides local servers to accelerate website performance, but its clients include software company Mozilla, publishing company The Atlantic and content management system Drupal, all of which have been barred in China for the time being. This is par for the course as the Chinese government routinely blocks thousands of foreign websites, from news providers to social media platforms. The top internet watchdog Cyberspace Administration of China organised the conference, which includes sessions on global internet governance, cyber security and mobile internet.

Stuff: China Blocks Sites as Internet Conference Begins

BBC: China Web Conference Opens Amid Internet Freedom Criticism


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