ITWC Morning Briefing, October 20, 2020 – SK hynix acquires Intel NAND memory and storage business, Technicity is back, and more

To keep up with the firehose of news, we’ve decided to deliver some extra news to you on the side every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Some of it is an extension of our own reporting that didn’t make its way into a story, while others might be content we’ve bookmarked for later reading and thought of sharing with you. We’re doing a similar thing at Channel Daily News – check it out here. You can also view our previous ITWC Morning Briefing here. Today’s briefing is delivered by ITWC editorial director Alex Coop.

What you need to know right now

It’s what you need to know right now in the world of IT and tech – ’nuff said. (Often taken with a side of Hashtag Trending)


Hashtag Trending

The EU is investigating Instagram for allegedly exposing the contact data of up to 5 million underage users, you will soon get a phone single on the moon, and Google launches it’s ‘hum to search’ feature. Read the full episode transcript here.


Intel says it’s selling NAND memory and storage business

Intel is parting ways with is NAND SSD product line by selling its NAND memory and storage business to South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix for $9 billion.

SK Hynix announced the deal Tuesday, adding Intel intends to retain its Intel Optane brand of products. Intel Optane is based on the 3D XPoint technology it developed with Micron.

“I am pleased to see SK hynix and Intel`s NAND division, which have led the NAND flash technology innovation, work to build the new future together,” said Seok-Hee Lee, chief executive officer of SK hynix. “By taking each other`s strengths and technologies, SK hynix will proactively respond to various needs from customers and optimize our business structure, expanding our innovative portfolio in the NAND flash market segment, which will be comparable with what we achieved in DRAM.”

The acquisition will make it more competitive in the storage market, especially when it comes to enterprise SSDs, SK hynix said in an Oct. 20 press release. The company highlighted Intel’s “industry-leading” NAND SSD technology and quadruple level cell NAND flash products. SK hynix also praised how Intel’s NAND businesses generated $2.8 billion in revenue for the Non-Volatile Solutions Group and contributed roughly $600 million in operating income for the first six months of 2020.

The deal is expected to close March 2025.


Technicity makes a return

Last year ITWC brought together technology experts and senior municipal leaders to discuss issues ranging from open data to cybersecurity. Sadly, we can’t bring everyone together in a single room for another round of important discussions, but we’ve gotten good at doing things virtually. Join us Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. for a half-day interactive event that will weave together live presentations, networking breakout rooms, recorded panels, and a luncheon town hall.

Oh yeah, and it’s free. Register here!


Challenge-based RFPs and open data keys to solving Toronto’s biggest problems, municipal leaders say

Technicity in photos


Six Russian military officers indicted by U.S. grand jury for huge cyber attacks [IT World Canada]

Six members of Russia’s military intelligence unit have been accused of being behind some of the biggest known cyberattacks, including the NotPetya wiper, which caused over $1 billion in losses around the world, and malware that twice knocked out power to large parts of Ukraine. [Full story]

In case you missed it

The recent news that we maybe didn’t get to yet, or it’s the news we’ve reported on and feel is worth resurfacing. Sometimes we’ll also feature awesome stories from other publications.

Addressing pesky Dharma ransomware

Microsoft recently published a guide on how to prevent or recover from a Dharma ransomare attack.

John Barbare, a senior customer engineer posted to Microsoft’s community bulletin board about how to defend systems against the Dharma ransomware strain, known to encrypt files in SharePoint or OneDrive for ransom after stealing credentials to gain Domain Access. It didn’t take long for Barbare to utter – or in this case write – the words “multi-factor authenticaion.”

One of my first questions I ask is, ‘are you using Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)  for your high privileged accounts/credentials’ and the answer comes back with “we are using long and extraordinarily complex passwords that no one can crack.” My take on this response and has been for a very long time is if you create the longest and most complex passwords 1) the user is not going to remember it thus writing it down and storing it under the keyboard and/or 2) keeping a notepad file on the desktop named “Passwords.txt” with a list of all the long and hard to remember passwords to easily have access to so they don’t bug anyone to reset the password (they forget it) or to easily copy/paste in the password fieldYes, I have seen this happen in lots of places I have visited in the last XX years and it is a common practicestill as of todayWith the following information, I hope this article changes the way you or anyonesecureshigh privileged accounts. [Source: Microsoft]

Click to enlarge. Source: Microsoft


The edgy opportunity

A new report from Aruba says 72 per cent of global IT decision makers (ITDMs) in a recent survey are using edge technologies today, but while that number signals the technology’s positive adoption, some gaps linger around education and enablement. The survey was based on 2,400 global IT decision-makers. Here are some of the report’s takeaways.

  • 33 per cent of IT decision-makers globally said “there is too much data for our systems to handle” and 28 per cent stated that “we cannot process the data quickly enough to take action.”
  • Almost a quarter also highlighted problems with budget (23 per cent), a lack of skills (23 per cent), and an inability to collect data from so many different sources (21 per cent).
  • By sector, the most popular edge use cases were tracking and monitoring individual items through the supply chain in retail (51 per cent), the use of facial recognition in the hotels/hospitality industry (49 per cent) and improving healthcare providers’ experience with always-on tools and applications (49 per cent).
  • 32 per cent of ITDMs pointed to a lack of expertise, skill or understanding with regard to edge technologies as top concerns. Notably, the overwhelming majority (92 per cent) think they are missing at least some skills needed to help their organization unlock the value of data. That rises to 98 per cent and 99 per cent of ITDMs in the government and hotels/hospitality sectors respectively.
  • AI and machine learning skills (43 per cent), analytical skills (41 per cent) and technical skills (37 per cent) ranked highest in terms of areas of expertise that companies are lacking.
  • Overall, there were mixed feelings about the security implications of the edge. While 57 per cent of ITDMs said that connecting IoT or user devices at the edge had made or would make their businesses more vulnerable, 47 per cent identified improved security as one of the biggest benefits of capturing data from user devices.

Check out the full report here.


Cyber Security Today

Learn these lessons from a ransomware attack. Listen to the full episode below or read the full episode transcript here!


Proposed new body may break UN logjam over cyberspace governance [IT World Canada]

For more than 20 years, countries have been trying to negotiate some way to bring order over cyberspace. During those years cyberattacks have only increased.

However, some experts, including Josh Gold, a former research assistant at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab who specializes in cyber governance, think a quiet proposal by France and Egypt earlier this month may pave the way to getting something done. [Full story]


Rogers now offers 5G service in 130 Canadian regions [IT Business Canada]

Rogers has expanded its service to 130 regions in Canada, including more rural areas in Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia. [Full story]


University of Calgary launches master of data science and analytics degree [IT World Canada] 

The University of Calgary is adding a new graduate program to help people with different disciplines become data scientists. [Full story]


SpaceX granted basic telecom license in Canada [IT World Canada] 

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) is granting Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX, a Basic International Telecommunications Service license (BITS). [Full story]


House of Commons close to testing new remote voting app []

MPs will soon be asked to test a new voting app — part of the House of Commons’ efforts to make the current hybrid sitting less cumbersome for the politicians who are not attending in person. [Full story]


Bookmarks of the week

A few bookmarked tweets that we think are worth sharing with you. Check out the #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth hashtag on Twitter to follow the conversation during October.








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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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