5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending July 28

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week is Dell EMC, which continues to wrestle with problems with its online partner portal and its ability to provide partners with need training materials.

Also making the list this week are Apple, for a judge's ruling that it owes $506 million to the University of Wisconsin in a patent case; Cisco, for the security vulnerabilities discovered in its Autonomic Networking Software; Mac users, who are finding themselves more frequently under malware attack; and marketing cloud application vendor Marketo, whose services broke down this week because of the company's failure to renew its marketo.com domain registration.

Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves – or just had good luck – check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Problematic Portal Forces Dell EMC To Waive Federal Partner Training Requirements

Dell continues to grapple with difficulties with its online partner portal, and the company has had to waive training requirements for federal channel partners who are unable to access needed training materials.

In an email to partners obtained by CRN, Dell EMC federal channel directors said that many partners have been unable to access required training courses. "Dell EMC has put all hands on deck to fix the issue," the note said, but added that there was no timeframe on when the problems would be resolved.

While the memo did not provide details about the nature of the problem, an executive at a federal solution provider that works with Dell EMC told CRN that the problem is more related to the integration of the Dell and EMC training programs following last year's acquisition than it is to the portal itself.

Apple Ordered To Pay University Of Wisconsin $506 Million In Patent Case

A U.S. District Court judge this week order Apple to pay the University of Wisconsin-Madison $506 million for allegedly infringing on a patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university's research arm, according to Reuters and The Los Angeles Times stories.

The foundation sued Apple in 2014 and in October 2015 a jury found that Apple had used the technology without licensing it. The jury ruled that Apple owed the foundation $234 million in damages.

Apple allegedly used the patented "predictor circuit" technology in the A7, A8 and A8X processing chips used in Apple iPhones and iPads. The patented technology, which improves processor performance, was originally developed by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Gurindar Sohi.

This week Judge William Conley in Madison doubled the damages assessed by the jury, plus interest, because Apple continued to use the technology between the date of the jury verdict and when the patent expired on Dec. 26, 2016.

Apple says it will appeal the judge's ruling.

Bugs In Cisco's Autonomic Networking Software Leave Systems Vulnerable To Attack

Cisco scrambled this week to issue warnings about several unpatched vulnerabilities in the Autonomic Networking features in its IOS and IOS XE software that the company said could allow a hacker to crash a device or use the software to launch a distributed denial of service attack.

The vulnerabilities, two of which Cisco rated "high severity," were originally disclosed by researchers at this week's Black Hat conference.

Cisco said there are no workarounds for the bugs and Cisco has yet to release software updates that address the vulnerabilities, according to the advisory posted on Cisco's support site.

Mac Users Face Growing Number Of Malware Attacks

A newly discovered variant of the Fruitfly malware that targets Apple Macintosh computers is providing a wakeup call for Mac users who have long considered themselves relatively immune to the sorts of security problems that regularly plague Windows PCs.

The variant, originally discovered in January, has reportedly infected only a few hundred Macs. But researchers said the malware could be used for surveillance activities such as recording keystrokes and taking webcam photos.

The discovery of the variant adds to what has already been an unusually active year for Mac-related security threats. Cybersecurity vendor Malwarebytes said in a recent report that Mac users saw more malware in this year's second quarter than they saw in all of 2016.

Marketo Forgets To Renew Its Domain Name Leading To Widespread Service Outage

Marketing automation application developer Marketo found itself in an embarrassing situation Tuesday when its marketo.com domain registration expired after the company failed to renew it, according to stories published by The Register and other sites, as well as postings on Marketos' support page and tweets by Marketo executives.

And this wasn't just a case of people not being able to access Marketo's website. The company's marketing emails use marketo.com links to track customer interactions. Tuesday morning the company began receiving customer complaints when client emails stopped working, and customers couldn't log onto Marketo's reporting systems.

"Resolving DNS issues re: our site and I profusely apologize to everyone. No excuses, just fixing," Marketo CEO Steve Lucas tweeted during the outage.

The problems lasted several hours before, according to The Register, a Marketo customer figured out the problem and renewed the registration for the company. But it was several more hours before the domain could be propagated throughout domain name servers around the world and service was fully restored.

"We identified process errors with auto renewals as well as human errors. Will be sharing," Lucas tweeted later in the day.