Data Sheet—Friday, September 16, 2016


Take a moment to consider how technology has changed the way companies do business.

Employees can now work from the comfort of their homes using laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. The rise of cloud computing, in which companies buy computing capacity on demand, means that businesses don’t have to build huge data centers.

Information technology is more convenient than ever before. But it’s not just businesses that are benefiting. So too are hackers and cyber criminals who can more easily wreak havoc on corporations.

Former high-profile hacker turned security expert Mark Abene explained Thursday how hacking culture evolved over time from mostly amateurish hijinks in the 1980s to “hacking for profit” today. At a conference in San Francisco hosted by Internet-performance and security startup CloudFlare, he said that motivations started to change in the 1990s with the advent of more powerful home computers that gave hackers better tools to infiltrate corporate networks.

That ultimately set off the transition to the widespread and theft-oriented hacking of today.

The shift became even more pronounced in the 2000s because the Internet’s rise made it possible for hackers to more easily break into corporate infrastructure and steal financial information. The Internet made it possible for hackers to accomplish what was impossible in 1980s and most of the 1990s, he said.

But all is not lost. Abene said the rise of machine learning algorithms has made it easier for businesses to detect unusual behaviors on their networks and pinpoint bad actors. Applying data science to cybersecurity has the potential to better protect businesses, he said.

Here’s hoping the hackers don’t benefit from these same cutting-edge technologies.

Jonathan Vanian is a writer at Fortune. Email him. Share this essay.



The Samsung Galaxy 7 recall is now official. The U.S. consumer protection agency has stepped in to oversee the South Korean company's effort to replace or refund more than 1 million of the smartphones, which pose a fire safety issue. So far, that effort has been haphazard. (Reuters, Wall Street Journal)

Apple shares are up 12% this week. The tech giant's stock benefited from brisk preorders for the iPhone 7 series, which is officially in stores Friday morning. Apple added $60 billion in value through Thursday to around $638 billion. (Wall Street Journal)

GE, BMW, and Nikon pour millions into 3D printing startup. They're part of a new $81 million funding round for Carbon, which makes technology being used by Ford to prototype car parts. (Fortune)

Here's how NetSuite's rival Infor is handling would-be suitors. With NetSuite soon to become part of Oracle in a $9.3 billion buyout, Reuters reports that business software firm Infor has hired Morgan Stanley to help it evaluate offers from potential investors. Infor, which is helmed by former Oracle exec Charles Phillips, has been owned by private equity firm Golden Gate since 2002. (Reuters)

Blockchain startup Ripple partners with banking heavyweights. The company is boasting new relationships with Standard Chartered, BMO Financial Group, and Shanghai Huarui Bank. They're looking at blockchain, the encryption technology used by bitcoin, as a means of securing cross-board money transfers. Plus, it just raised another $55 million. (Fortune)

Oracle and Oregon settle nasty lawsuit over Obamacare exchange. The state sued the software giant in 2014, claiming that it paid millions for products and services that didn't work as promised. The agreement calls for Oracle to pay the state $100 million, including $60 million to cover customer support. (Fortune)



Larry Ellison says Oracle is set to take on Amazon in the cloud. On its first-quarter earnings call, the software giant's executive triad of Larry Ellison, Safra Catz, and Mark Hurd once again touted strong cloud growth, noting that total cloud revenue for the quarter hit $969 million, up 59% year over year.

Most of that expansion comes from two parts of the cloud sector known to techies as software as a service, where companies stream applications from a cloud company’s data center, and platform as a service, which is a flexible way to design, test, and deploy business software.

But there is a third sector where Amazon Web Services dominates, known as infrastructure as a service—the model for renting computer server capacity, storage, and networking services to customers. There, Oracle is barely a blip on the radar, but that's about to change. 



Salesforce hires respected Microsoft exec as chief equality officer. Tony Prophet, an African-American who most recently ran Microsoft's education marketing efforts, will lead the cloud software company's charge to improve racial diversity. (FortuneUSA Today)


No One Knows How Big the Gig Economy Really Is, by Anne VanderMey

How Kayak's Engineering Team Makes It Easier to Book Travel Online, by Barb Darrow

Here's One Way Artificial Intelligence Could Improve Customer Service, by Heather Clancy

Why Cloud Vendors Aren't Talking So Much About Price Cuts Anymore, by Barb Darrow

Leaked Emails Describe "Sexist" and "Toxic" Work Environment at Apple, by Don Reisinger


Twitterverse cheers NFL debut. The live feed on Thursday night marked the first time an NFL game was broadcast on Twitter—alongside all the tweets about it. (Reuters)


Oracle OpenWorld: The future of the cloud is now. (Sept. 18-22; San Francisco)

IBM Edge: Out-think the status quo. (Sept. 19-22; Las Vegas)

Hosting and Cloud Transformation: 451 Research's annual summit. (Sept. 19-22; Las Vegas)

Gigaom Change: 7 transformational technologies. (Sept. 21-23; Austin)

Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit: Exploring solutions for ad, health, and finance technology. (Sept. 22-25; New York)

Workday Rising: Talent management in the cloud. (Sept. 26-29; Chicago)

Microsoft Ignite: Product road maps and innovation. (Sept. 26-30; Atlanta)

Adapt or Die: Apigee's #DigitalKnowHow world tour. (Sept. 27; San Francisco)

Structure Security: Highlighting best practices that security professionals are using to protect some of the world's largest companies and institutions. (Sept. 27-28; San Francisco). Data Sheet subscribers get 25% off registration.

Dreamforce: The Salesforce ecosystem meets. (Oct. 4-7; San Francisco)

Atlassian Summit: Tips and training for developers and project managers. (Oct. 10-13; San Jose, Calif.)

Virtuous Circle: The future of the Internet ecosystem. (Oct. 10-11; Menlo Park, Calif.)

Gartner Symposium/ITexpo: A gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders.  (Oct. 16-20; Orlando, Fla.)

DellWorld: Dell's annual global customer conference. (Oct. 18-20; Austin, Texas)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: The world's largest gathering of women technologists. (Oct. 19-21; Houston)

QuickBooks Connect: Intuit's third annual customer and developer conference. (Oct. 24-26; San Jose, Calif.)

World of Watson: The power of data, analytics, and cognitive. (Oct. 24-27; Las Vegas)

AI World: Business applications for artificial intelligence. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)

TBM Conference: Manage the business of IT. (Nov. 7-10; San Diego)

DevOps Enterprise Summit: Develop and deploy software faster. (Nov. 7-9; San Francisco)

Drone World Expo: Commercial apps for unmanned aircraft. (Nov. 15-16; San Jose, Calif.)

AWS re:Invent: Amazon's annual cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)


This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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