Five Companies The Dropped The Ball This Week

AMD Loses CFO In Latest Chapter Of Talent Drain

AMD Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert (pictured), who last year did an eight-month stretch as interim CEO, has resigned to pursue other interests. Investors didn't like this much, sending AMD shares down 7 percent in the wake of the announcement.

Seifert follows in the footsteps of Bob Feldstein, former AMD business development executive, who jumped to Nvidia in July. Last September, Emilio Ghilardi, former senior vice president and chief sales officer, along with Eric Demers, former CTO of AMD's Graphics Business Unit, left the company.

"We thank Thomas for his many contributions to AMD and for serving as interim CEO in 2011," current AMD CEO Rory Read said in a statement. "Thomas' personal commitment to the highest standards of accountability and financial integrity has helped define how AMD does business today."

Dell Enters Public Cloud Storage, Channel's Role Unclear

Dell quietly launched a public cloud storage service in partnership with Nirvanix and, while Dell says it is working on a channel program around the offering, it's not clear when it will launch.

Dell posted information on its website about the new offering, which has been given the catchy name Dell Cloud Storage with Nirvanix -- Public Service (kind of rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?).

Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of Eagle Software, a Salina, Kan.-based Dell storage partner, found it odd that Dell, with its deep roster of storage products, would need a partner to deliver such a service. "It's pretty funny to see a storage vendor partner with someone else on a storage cloud," he told CRN.

HP Employee Faces Bribery Charges In Germany

A Hewlett-Packard employee is facing bribery charges in Germany after an investigation of a $45 million IT contract with the Russian government turned up evidence of potential misconduct, according to HP's recent 10-Q filing. HP isn't facing charges itself, but in 2010, the SEC and DOJ investigated HP's German subsidiary for bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion related to a $44.5 million contract with the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.

Sophos Releases Update That Classifies Itself As Malware

Sophos endured some embarrassment after releasing a malware update that detected and labeled itself as malicious, triggering false positives for many customers and, most likely, a flurry of emails from bewildered IT staff. Sophos offered a mea culpa and says it's investigating.

"We would like to apologize for all of the disruption caused to our many customers and partners worldwide. We recognize the issue is very serious, and are doing everything we can to resolve it," Sophos said in a bulletin issued this week.

Password Security Issue Leaves Virgin Mobile Subscribers At Risk

Virgin Mobile USA has fixed its login page, but only after an independent software developer went public with a potentially major security flaw that could have put its 6 million customers at risk.

As noted by Kevin Burke, a California-based software developer, Virgin Mobile was using a system in which customers were required to enter only a six-digit PIN to log into their accounts, which would have made it easy for hackers to guess. Burke reported this to Virgin Mobile a month ago, but the company said it wasn't an issue, so he went public on his personal blog and Twitter.

"This is horribly insecure. Compare a six-digit number with a randomly generated eight-letter password containing uppercase letters, lowercase letters and digits -- the latter has 218,340,105,584,896 possible combinations. It is trivial to write a program that checks all million possible password combinations, easily determining anyone's PIN inside of one day," Burke said in a blog post.