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Gartner On the WannaCry Ransomware

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As the WannaCry ransomware continues to spread across the world--  according to European authorities it hit over 10000 organisations and 200000 individuals in 150 countries-- Gartner suggests 3 steps security professionals must take immediately.

WannacryBefore everything else, one must apply the MS1170-101 patch. If it is not installed, and TCP port 445 is open, the system will be attacked by ransomware. Following that, here are Gartner's three steps to prevent further attacks of this nature:

Stop blaming-- While pointing fingers at others might be easy, one of the key stages of incident response is to focus on the root cause. In the case of WannaCry it is Windows XP. The OS can be embedded in key system as part of control packages, meaning vulnerable firmware may neither be accessible nor under one's control. As such, one must demand upgrades from the vendors of embedded systems (such as point-of-sale terminals, medical imaging equipment, telecom systems, and even industrial output systems such as smart card personalisation and document production equipment), even if such devices use other embedded OSs such as Linux or Unix variants. After all, it is safe to assume all complex software is vulnerable to malware.

Fujitsu, 1QBit Team Up in AI Cloud Service

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Fujitsu joins forces with 1QB Information Technologies to apply "quantum-inspired" technology to artificial intelligence, with a focus on combinatorial optimisation and machine learning.

Fujitsu 1QbitThe collaboration involves 1QBit quantum computer software running on a digital annealer joint-developed by Fujitsu and the University of Toronto. A digital annealer is a computer architecture able to rapidly solve combinatorial optimisation problems using existing semiconductor technology, with faster results than simulated annealing running on a conventional processor.

ABC Data Achieves "Breakthrough" in Q1 2017

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CEE-based distributor ABC Data manages to bring gross margins to record levels in Q1 2017, following a series of efforts to reduce operational costs.

ABC DataAs a result, Q1 2017 sees revenues fall by -4% Y-o-Y to 994.8 million Polish zloty (€236.04m), while EBITDA is up by 19% Y-o-Y to 6.8m zloty. The quarter also has the highest ABC Data margins on sales, reaching 5.9% (0.5% higher than Q1 2016). The traditional distribution business sees 5.7% profit margins, while the value-added business unit reaches margins of 10%, in part thanks to the acquisition of storage specialist S4E.

"The first quarter is a breakthrough for the company's results," CEO Illona Weiss says. "At the end of 2016, [we implemented] actions aimed at optimising costs, [which has] brought the assumed effect right now and will become even more apparent in the coming quarters. In addition, business decisions and intensive work carried out in key areas of e-commerce, cloud, mobile, and VAD translate into the financial results of the group."

AMD Unveils Threadripper CPU

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AMD reveals its near-future compute product roadmap at its Financial Analyst Day, with upcoming offerings including the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPU and Ryzen 3 desktop CPUs.

AMD ThreadripperAimed at the high-end desktop segment, the Threadripper is a Zen-based CPU carrying up to 16 cores and 32 threads. It is to feature a new platform with expanded memory and I/O bandwidth, and promises to "fulfill the insatiable desire for more cores and threads that permeates the extreme desktop market" once it launches on Summer 2017. More details should be available soon at Computex 2017.

Also announced is the Q3 2017 availability of Ryzen 3 CPUs, while more PCs from "top 5" OEMs running on Ryzen 7 and 5 CPUs should hit the market on Q2 2017.

Apple Buys into "Dark Data"

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TechCrunch reports Apple has acquired Lattice Data, a specialist in "dark" data-- unstructured data, which the company turns into structured (and thus more usable) information.

Lattice DataThe iPhone maker confirms the deal with the usual "“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” statement. Further details of the deal are not known, but TechCrunch claims the purchase cost at least $200 million.

But what is dark data? One can describe it as an information jumble, lacking in labels, categorisation or sense of context. It actually makes the vast majority (around 70-80%) of all data currently produced, and promises at least some value if actual organisation is applied.

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