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Pearson Credential Manager System Used By Cisco, IBM, F5 Has Been Breached 25

An anonymous reader writes with a report from Help Net Security that the credential management system used by Pearson VUE (part of education company and publisher Pearson) has been breached "by an unauthorized third party with the help of malware." Pearson VUE specializes in computer-based assessment testing for regulatory and certification boards. From the story: Over 450 credential owners (including IT organizations such as IBM, Adobe, etc.) across the globe use the company's solutions to develop, manage, deliver and grow their testing programs. The company is still assessing the scope of the breach, and says that they do not think that US Social Security numbers or full payment card information were compromised. But because the PMC is custom designed to fit specific customer requirements, they are still looking into how this incident affected each of their customers. According to a note on Pearson's site, the system remains down for the time being.

New IBM Tech Lets Apps Authenticate You Without Personal Data ( 27

itwbennett writes: IBM's Identity Mixer allows developers to build apps that can authenticate users' identities without collecting personal data. Specifically, Identity Mixer authenticates users by asking them to provide a public key. Each user has a single secret key, and it corresponds with multiple public keys, or identities. IBM announced on Friday that Identity Mixer is now available to developers on its Bluemix cloud platform.

Gene Amdahl, Pioneer of Mainframe Computing, Dies At 92 ( 78

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that Dr. Gene Amdahl, who played a crucial role in developing the IBM System/360 series mainframes and formulated Amdahl's law, has died at the age of 92. "The 360 series was not one computer but a family of compatible machines. Computers in the series used processors of different speeds and power, yet all understood a common language. This allowed customers to purchase a smaller system knowing they could migrate to a larger, more powerful machine if their needs grew, without reprogramming the application software. IBM's current mainframes can still run some System/360 applications. ... Dr. Amdahl is remembered at IBM as an intellectual leader who could get different strong-minded groups to reach agreement on technical issues."
Operating Systems

The Return of OS/2 Warp Set For 2016 ( 262

An anonymous reader writes: We all know the ill-fated history of IBM's OS/2 Warp, while some others may not know about the first OS/2-OEM distribution called eComStation. Now a new company called Arca Noae, not happy with the results of this last distribution, has signed an agreement with IBM to create a new OS/2 version. They announced a new OS, codenamed "Blue Lion," at Warpstock 2015 this last October; this will be based on OS/2 Warp 4.52 and the SMP kernel. The OS/2 community has taken this news with positivism and the OS2World community is now requesting everybody that has developed for OS/2 on the past to open source their source code to collaborate.

HP Is Now Two Companies. How Did It Get Here? ( 198

New submitter joshroberts3388 writes: If Hollywood wanted a script about the inexorable decline of a corporate icon, it might look to Hewlett-Packard for inspiration. Once one of Silicon Valley's most respected companies, HP officially split itself in two on Sunday, betting that the smaller parts will be nimbler and more able to reverse four years of declining sales. HP fell victim to huge shifts in the computer industry that also forced Dell to go private and have knocked IBM on its heels. Pressure from investors compelled it to act. But there are dramatic twists in HP's story, including scandals, a revolving door for CEOs and one of the most ill-fated mergers in tech history, that make HP more than a victim of changing times.
The Military

US Tech Giants Increasingly Partner With Military-Connected Chinese Companies 100

theodp writes: The New York Times reports that analysts and officials in the American military community are increasingly examining a recent trend among U.S. tech companies of forming new partnerships with Chinese firms that have ties to the Chinese military. Critics are concerned that the growing number of such deals could inadvertently improve the fundamental technology capabilities of the Chinese military — or worse, harm United States national security. "One Chinese technology company receives crucial technical guidance from a former People's Liberation Army rear admiral," notes the Times. "Another company developed the electronics on China's first atomic bomb. A third sells technology to China's air-to-air missile research academy. Their ties to the Chinese military run deep, and they all have something else in common: Each Chinese company counts one of America's tech giants — IBM, Cisco Systems or Microsoft — as a partner." A blurring of the lines among many companies that supply military and commercial technology makes it difficult to know what cooperation might result in technology ultimately being used by China's military. "The Chinese companies are required to do the best for their government. American companies say they are only answerable to their shareholders," said James McGregor of the consulting firm Apco Worldwide. "So who is looking out for the United States?"

IBM Acquires the Weather Company's Digital Business ( 56

An anonymous reader writes: The Times reports that IBM has agreed to acquire the Weather Company's data and digital properties including and Weather Underground news sites. The deal does not include the Weather Channel. Techcrunch reports: "According to IBM, the acquisition helps it to harness one of the largest big data opportunities in the world: weather. That's something that impacts one-third of the world's GGP and in the U.S. alone, accounts for about half a trillion dollars in impact, the company notes. The deal will combine two big data platforms, IBM's cognitive and analytics business with that of Weather. Currently, The Weather Company has the fourth-most visited mobile app in the U.S. and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services daily, generating about 4 GB of data per second. Following the acquisition, IBM's Watson will be able to tap into more data sets, including Weather's mobile and web properties, which analyze data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, over 40 million mobile phones, and 50,000 flights per day."

IBM Permits China To Review Source Code ( 64

An anonymous reader writes: IBM has permitted the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to review its proprietary source code in a 'controlled' environment, said IBM Senior Vice President Steve Mills yesterday. The company didn't make clear which of its products would be available for review. According to a (paywalled) WSJ report: "IBM has been willing to strike closer partnerships with China’s government than many of its fellow U.S. tech companies, people familiar with the company’s strategy said. Still, it isn’t clear to what extent IBM’s move might be a symbolic gesture. The people briefed on the practice said Chinese officials can look at the code only during visits and can’t remove it for a thorough review. In a short amount of time, it would be extremely difficult to comb through all the code for a product for potential “backdoors” that would allow spying on users."

Complex Living Brain Simulation Replicates Sensory Rat Behaviour ( 63

New submitter physick writes: The Blue Brain project at EPFL, Switzerland today published the results of more than 10 years work in reconstructing a cellular model of a piece of the somatosensory cortex of a juvenile rat. The paper in Cell describes the process of painstakingly assembling tens of thousands of digital neurons, establishing the location of their synapses, and simulating the resulting neocortical microcircuit on an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. “This is a first draft reconstruction of a piece of neocortex and it’s beautiful,” said Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “It’s like a fundamental building block of the brain.”

IBM Scientists Find New Way To Shrink Transistors 100

MarcAuslander writes that IBM scientists have discovered a way to replace silicon semiconductors with carbon nanotube transistors, an innovation the company hopes will dramatically improve chip performance and get the industry past the limits of Moore's law. According to the Times: In the semiconductor business, it is called the 'red brick wall' — the limit of the industry's ability to shrink transistors beyond a certain size. On Thursday, however, IBM scientists reported that they now believe they see a path around the wall. Writing in the journal Science, a team at the company's Thomas J. Watson Research Center said it has found a new way to make transistors from parallel rows of carbon nanotubes.

IBM's Watson Is Now Analyzing Your Vacation Photos 117

jfruh writes: IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyzes images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. Watson turns what it gleans into structured data, making it easier to load into a database and act upon — which is clearly appealing to marketers and just as clearly carries disturbing privacy implications.

Vietnam's Tech Boom: a Look Inside Southeast Asia's Silicon Valley 40

rjmarvin writes: Vietnam is in the midst of a tech boom. The country's education system is graduating thousands of well-educated software engineers and IT professionals each year, recruited by international tech companies like Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and others setting up shop in the southern tech hub of Ho Chi Minh City and the central coastal city of Da Nang. Young Vietnamese coders and entrepreneurs are also launching more and more startups, encouraged by government economic policies encouraging small businesses and a growing culture around innovation in the country.

How Artificial Intelligence Can Fight Air Pollution In China 50

An anonymous reader writes: IBM is testing a new way to help fix Beijing's air pollution problem with artificial intelligence. Like many other cities across the country, the capital is surrounded by many coal burning factories. However, the air quality on a day-to-day basis can vary because of a number of reasons like industrial activity, traffic congestion, and the weather. IBM is testing a computer system capable of learning to predict the severity of air pollution several days in advance using large quantities of data from several different models. "We have built a prototype system which is able to generate high-resolution air quality forecasts, 72 hours ahead of time," says Xiaowei Shen, director of IBM Research China. "Our researchers are currently expanding the capability of the system to provide medium- and long-term (up to 10 days ahead) as well as pollutant source tracking, 'what-if' scenario analysis, and decision support on emission reduction actions."

IBM Tells Administrators To Block Tor On Security Grounds 70

Mickeycaskill writes: IBM says Tor is increasingly being used to scan organizations for flaws and launch DDoS, ransomware and other attacks. Tor, which provides anonymity by obscuring the real point of origin of Internet communications, was in part created by the US government, which helps fund its ongoing development, due to the fact that some of its operations rely on the network. However, the network is also widely used for criminal purposes. A report by the IBM says administrators should block access to Tor , noting a "steady increase" an attacks originating from Tor exit nodes, with attackers increasingly using Tor to disguise botnet traffic. "Spikes in Tor traffic can be directly tied to the activities of malicious botnets that either reside within the Tor network or use the Tor network as transport for their traffic," said IBM. "Allowing access between corporate networks and stealth networks can open the corporation to the risk of theft or compromise, and to legal liability in some cases and jurisdictions."

Wired: IBM's School Could Fix Education and Tech's Diversity Gap 176

theodp writes: Wired positively gushes over IBM's Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), saying it could fix education and tech's diversity gap. Backed by IBM, the P-TECH program aims to prepare mainly minority kids from low-income backgrounds for careers in technology, allowing them to earn a high school diploma and a free associate degree in six years or less. That P-TECH's six inaugural graduates completed the program in four years and were offered jobs with IBM, Wired reports, is "irrefutable proof that this solution might actually work" (others aren't as impressed, although the President is drinking the Kool-Aid). While the program has only actually graduated six students since it was announced in 2010, Wired notes that by fall, 40 schools across the country will be designed in P-TECH's image. IBM backs four of them, but they'll also be run by tech giants like Microsoft and SAP, major energy companies like ConEdison, along with hospital systems, manufacturing associations, and civil engineering trade groups. They go by different names and are geared toward different career paths, but they all follow the IBM playbook.

IBM 'TrueNorth' Neuro-Synaptic Chip Promises Huge Changes -- Eventually 97

JakartaDean writes: Each of IBM's "TrueNorth" chips contains 5.4 billion transistors and runs on 70 milliwatts. The chips are designed to behave like neurons—the basic building blocks of biological brains. Dharmenda Modha, the head of IBM's cognitive computing group, says a system of 24 connected chips simulates 48 million neurons, roughly the same number rodents have.

Whereas conventional chips are wired to execute particular "instructions," the TrueNorth juggles "spikes," much simpler pieces of information analogous to the pulses of electricity in the brain. Spikes, for instance, can show the changes in someone's voice as they speak—or changes in color from pixel to pixel in a photo. "You can think of it as a one-bit message sent from one neuron to another." says one of the chip's chief designers. The chips are designed well not for training neural networks, but for executing them. This has significant implications for consumer AI: big companies with lots of resources could focus on the training, which individual TrueNorth chips in people's gadgets could handle the execution.

IBM Launches Linux-Only Mainframes 157

An anonymous reader writes: IBM is introducing two mainframe servers that only run on Linux. It's part of a new initiative from the Linux Foundation called the Open Mainframe Project. "The idea is that those companies participating in this project can work together, and begin building a set of open source tools and technologies for Linux mainframes, while helping one another overcome common development issues in the same manner as all open source projects." IBM's hardware release is accompanied by 250,000 lines of code that they're open sourcing as well. "Ultimately the mainframe mainstays are hoping to attract a new generation of developers to their platform. To help coax new users, IBM will be offering free access to the LinuxOne cloud, a mainframe simulation tool it developed for creating, testing and piloting Linux mainframe applications." Canonical is working with IBM to bring Ubuntu to mainframes.

Severe Deserialization Vulnerabilities Found In Android, 3rd Party Android SDKs 105

An anonymous reader writes: Closely behind the discoveries of the Stagefright flaw, the hole in Android's mediaserver service that can put devices into a coma, and the Certifi-gate bug, comes that of an Android serialization vulnerability that affects Android versions 4.3 to 5.1 (i.e. over 55 percent of all Android phones). The bug (CVE-2015-3825), discovered by IBM's X-Force Application Security Research Team in the OpenSSLX509Certificate class in the Android platform, can be used to turn malicious apps with no privileges into "super" apps that will allow cyber attackers to thoroughly "own" the victim's device. In-depth technical details about the vulnerabilities are available in this paper the researchers are set to present at USENIX WOOT '15.

IBM Drops $1 Billion On Medical Images For Watson 53

An anonymous reader writes: IBM is purchasing a company called Merge Healthcare for $1 billion. The company specializes in medical imaging software, and it will be a key new resource for IBM's Watson AI. Big blue's researchers estimate that 90% of all medical data is contained within images. Having a trove of them and the software to mine that data should help Watson learn how to make more accurate diagnoses. IBM thinks it'll also provide better context for run-of-the-mill medical imaging. "[A] radiologist might examine thousands of patient images a day, but only looking for abnormalities on the images themselves rather than also taking into account a person's medical history, treatments and drug regimens." They can program Watson to do both. The AI is already landing contracts to assist with medical issues: "Last week, IBM announced a partnership with CVS Health, the large pharmacy chain, to develop data-driven services to help people with chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease better manage their health."

IBM Locking Up Lots of Cloud Computing Patents 70

dkatana writes: In an article for InformationWeek Charles Babcock notes that IBM has been hoarding patents on every aspect of cloud computing. They've secured about 1,200 in the past 18 months, including ~400 so far this year. "For those who conceive of the cloud as an environment based on public standards with many shared elements, the grant of these patents isn't entirely reassuring." Babcock says, and he adds: "Whatever the intent, these patents illustrate how the cloud, even though it's conceived of as a shared environment following public standards, may be subject to some of the same intellectual property disputes and patent trolling as earlier, more directly proprietary environments."