Alleged DDoS-for-hire masterminds busted

HP exits one business, losing billions, and enters another, spending billions. Samsung’s phones continue exploding. Facebook finds the courage to apologize for bizarre censorship, and Apple finds the courage to annoy thousands of users. It’s just another week in IT.

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A pair of Israeli teens are said to have been earning $600,000 per year by operating vDOS, an online service that charged people to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. They were responsible for the majority of attacks on the Internet in the past few years.

The kids were collared after it was discovered that the website advertising and supporting the service was personally registered to one of them. Great operational security, guys. We’re sure they’ll be replaced before too long. The dark side of the Internet abhors a vacuum.

HP in buying, selling spree

Hewlett Packard has been buying and selling businesses like crazy this week. HPE, its enterprise division, will sell off its software business to U.K. firm Micro Focus for US$6.6 billion. The sale includes the assets of Autonomy, the U.K. firm that HP bought for US$11B in 2011 — and then wrote off as a bad buy. The deal came on the same day that Dell and EMC — two of HP’s biggest rivals — completed their own merger.

HP also snapped up Samsung’s printer business for US$1.05B. It wants to disrupt the copier industry, it says. Maybe it’ll take some of the heat off its printer business, which fell 14 per cent in its fiscal third quarter.

iPhone 7 launches

Apple launched the iPhone 7, which seems to have lost some features while gaining others. There is now no headphone jack. Instead, you’ll need to use a dongle that plugs into its Lightning port to use traditional earphones, which means that you can’t use them while charging the device. The alternative is to buy a set of wireless AirPods, which cost $219 in Canada. Removing the jack reportedly makes room for electronics that turn the traditional home button into a static, pressure-sensitive device, which The Verge called “awful.”

“It really comes down to just one word: courage,” said head of marketing Phil Schiller. We can think of a few choice words, but courage wouldn’t be one of them.

Note 7 fires

Remember those exploding Samsung Note 7 phones we mentioned a few weeks ago? There have been tens of exploding models in the U.S., and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has advised people to stop using them:

Samsung agrees. The Federal Aviation Authority isn’t too happy about people using them on planes, either, and neither is Transport Canada. We wonder how much this is likely to hurt sales?

Dingbat of the week

We’re attributing the dingbat of the week award to Mark Zuckerberg this week after Facebook removed a famous 1972 image of a Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack. It deleted the image from Norwegian author Tom Egeland’s Facebook page, claiming that it violated its nudity rules, and suspended him from posting for 24 hours. It then removed the picture from Norwegian paper Aftenposten’s Facebook page in Egeland’s defense. Then the Norwegian Prime Minister ran the picture on her page, and the social network giant deleted that too. Then it apologized.

The whole incident stemmed from a bizarrely ham-fisted attempt at moral arbitration. Facebook explained that it was difficult to tell when one picture of a nude child was valid and another wasn’t. Unfortunately, it has also been trying to stop a 14 year-old girl from suing it for allowing a naked picture of her to be posted on its site against her will. Well, why make do with one standard, when you can have two?

Image: iStock

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