Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Coming U.S. Bank Failures?
“That is a natural consequence of the economy going from historically exceptionally benign credit conditions to something that is more normal to something you would get in a downturn.”As companies shove more money onto the shelf for reserves against expected losses, they have less money to invest, less money to pay off obligations, and less money to calm down panicked investors who suddenly want their cash back and who create a run on the bank. Can you say Bear Stearns?
Mr Dugan’s comments come as US banks report big spikes in reserves for expected losses on consumer and small business loans, reflecting the spread of the credit crisis from Wall Street to the broader economy.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Online Networking for Jobs
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Ignoring Data Security Could Spell Lawsuit
I see our customers turn a blind eye to blatant security issues, in the name of the application or business requirements. I see our own senior officers reduce the risk ratings of internal findings, and even strong-arm 3rd party auditors/testers to reduce their risk ratings on the threat of losing our business. It's truly sad that the fear of losing our jobs and the necessity of supporting our families comes first before the security of highly confidential information.If that isn't chilling enough, scroll down the page and see one story after another that, if known to the people affected, could easily lead to significant law suits:
- I was employed in a medical software company that did not treat their staff terribly yet managed to deploy products that were genuinely unsafe. This was in the imaging dept.of a medical records company - imaging handled diagnostic images as well as records for archival. This needed to be 100%+ HIPPA [hhs.gov] compliant and was nowhere close.
- Don't even get me started. I work at a company which makes document imaging software and our customers send us all kinds of crap that honestly, scares the shit out of me. Not to mention information specifically protected by law. Most of the time, I get the sense that the sender didn't even remotely think about it. All they know is "this is not viewing/printing how it should" and so off they send it, as an attachment on unencrypted email.
- I remember in my days consulting, I got sent a DB to look at. This DB held all the personal information for everyone who was worth over $X. The DB contained SSN's, spouse's name, spouse's SSN, etc. As soon as I saw this DB, I asked where the NDA for it was. When I was told there was no NDA [non-disclosure agreement] sent over, I felt sorry for everyone who's information was in there.
- I work for a very large US government department. Our agency oversees all of the child agencies. If we leak information about how we fast-talk the 20-some year old college graduate security auditors that know jack about computers, we would surely lose our contract. Our contract pays big, on the order of a few million per year. We have a total staff a little over 20, do the math. If the federal it director says to do it one way, we do it that one way to ensure nice paychecks to our employees.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Renters: Another Impact of the Mortgage and Credit Crisis
Foreclosures could leave tens of thousands of New Yorkers who live in rental apartments without places to live, according to an analysis released Monday by New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.So where are these people supposed to go? And is anyone tallying their costs as part of the mortgage crisis?
Nearly 60% of the 15,000 foreclosure filings in New York City last year involved two- to four-family or multi–family buildings. That means renters, and not just owners, could be sent scrambling.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
How Stupid Can Companies Be When Dealing With Customers?
It all came from not taking care of business in time, when it would have cost a lot less. And now we see Hewlett-Packard dealing with an "issue" - different industry, same hot water. According to Computerworld, the company has admitted seeing flash-floppy drives infected with viruses intended to work with its HP's ProLiant Server line.
A security analyst with the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC) suspects that the infection originated at the factory, and was meant to target ProLiant servers. "I think it's naive to assume that these are not targeted attacks," said John Bambenek, who is also a researcher at the University of Illinois.Think that's bad? Try Best Buy, which admitted in January that it had sold digital photo frames containing malware, but the company didn't recall them. What were all these people thinking? That they could ignore prudent action to keep customers safe, and that no one would notice.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Power of Corporate Trademark Stupidity
NYC registered a trademark on the green apple with stem that doesn't have a bite taken out of it. A few months later, Apple registered a challenge. Mind you, there is no reasonably way one could confuse reducing energy consumption in New York City with the computer and consumer electronics company. If they think that's a threat, why not go after Apple Records because they're involved in music, and that at least has some connection to the iPod. Oh, wait, right - Apple Records was there first.
So Apple Inc. thinks that NYC is competition and is taking action? Let's count all the ways this is about one of the most stupid things it could have done:
- New York City isn't some kid in Harvard writing a blog and without funds. This is an economy unto itself, with lots of wherewithal to mount a legal challenge that will rattle the teeth of Steve Jobs.
- This has got to be an incredibly stupid PR move. The company is essentially branding itself as anti-green.
- New York City has used the Big Apple as a slogan far earlier than the first time Steve Wozniak cobbled together his first personal computer prototype.
- Because there are so many organizations and businesses using apples in names and logos, as the City Room blog of the New York Times points out, Apple has very possibly fallen into the dangerous ground of selectively protecting its trademark, which could provide grounds for it to lose that bit of intellectual property.
- The city realizes the potential weakness of Apple's position, because it responded to the US Patent and Trademark office that Apple used fraud to win overly broad protection.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
IBM Under Temporary Ban from New Federal Contracts
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM does business with all corners of the government, though the Defense and Homeland Security departments are much bigger customers than the EPA, according to federal spending databases. Last year IBM's contracts amounted to at least $1.3 billion, roughly 1 percent of its 2007 revenue.That's not a huge amount, but I wonder if it could scare other business off. No publicly-held corporation will be interested in appearing to be involved in questionable business, even if by proxy. Here's a copy of the emailed statement from the EPA.