5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending March 2

Topping this week's roundup of those having a rough week are Verizon and Straight Path, which paid the U.S. Federal Communications Commission a hefty fine for failing to use awarded spectrum.

Also making the list this week are GitHub, which was hit with a massive DDoS attack; Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which had to fixed a "high severity" vulnerability in a key server remote management system; Google, which was sued by a former employee alleging the company discriminates against Caucasian and Asian males in hiring; and Amazon Web Services, which suffered a service outage Friday that even affected its Alexa digital assistant.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Verizon, Straight Path Pay Record $614 Million Civil Penalty To FCC

Telecom giant Verizon completed its $3.1 billion acquisition of wireless spectrum holder Straight Path Communications this week. But the deal came with a price beyond the acquisition costs.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said this week that Verizon and Straight Path paid a $614 million civil penalty to resolve an FCC investigation into allegations that Straight Path failed to use the spectrum it had been awarded – a violation of the FCC's rules in connection with approximately 1,000 licenses, according to a Reuters story.

The settlement was the largest civil penalty ever paid to resolve an FCC investigation. The settlement, reached in 2017 but just disclosed this week, requires Straight Path to sell the 1,000 licenses and remit 20 percent of the proceeds, according to Reuters.

GitHub Hit With Biggest DDoS Attack – Ever

Software development platform GitHub this week was the victim of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack that peaked at 1.35 Terabits per second, making it the largest publicly reported DDoS attack, according to multiple published reports and GitHub's own incident report on the attack.

The good news is that GitHub was able to quickly mitigate the Feb. 28 attack by switching its traffic to Akamai, a content delivery and cloud security service provider, and the GitHub website was offline for only about five minutes with intermittent service for several more minutes. The attack ended after less then 10 minutes.

The bad news is that the DDoS attack utilized an unusual tactic, hijacking "memcaching" distributed memory servers as a way to amplify the data traffic volumes fired at the GitHub site. That's an indication that DDoS attackers continue to find new ways to bring down websites and web-based services.

HPE Scrambles To Patch Remote Management Hardware Bug

Developers at Hewlett Packard Enterprise scrambled this week to issue a patch for a vulnerability in the vendor's remote management hardware that left the company's HP ProLiant line of servers open to attack, according to a story on the Threatpost website.

The bug in the Integrated Lights-Out 3 remote management system could be used to launch an unauthenticated remote denial of service attack, the story said. The vulnerability, rated "high severity," was discovered in September by Rapid7 researchers and publicly reported by HPE late last week.

The bug specifically affected the v1.88 firmware for HPE's Integrated Lights-Out 3 remote management software that's embedded within ProLiant servers.

Google Sued By Ex-Employee Alleging The Company Had A Hiring Bias Against Male White, Asian Candidates

Google found itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit this week, sued by a former recruiter who claims he was fired because he refused to follow policies that discriminated against hiring Caucasian and Asian male candidates for technical positions.

The civil suit, filed in state court in Redwood City, Calif., alleges that the recruiter was pressured to "systematically" discriminate in favor of hiring Hispanic, African American and female candidates over Caucasian and Asian men.

The recruiter, Arne Wilberg, worked at Google and its YouTube unit for about nine years as both an employee and a contractor, according to published reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal . He alleges he was fired from his job because he complained to human resources about the hiring practices.

Alexa Loses Her Voice – Really – In Service Outage

Amazon's Alexa digital assistant suffered a service outage Friday in locations across the U.S. and even internationally.

The reported outage comes just weeks after an Amazon advertisement shown during the Super Bowl that depicted a scenario where Alexa loses her voice and a number of celebrities fill in for the service with hilarious results.

The Alexa outage, which began mid-morning Eastern Time, appeared to be tied to a larger Amazon Web Services outage that was causing service disruptions for other online companies including Atlassian and Twilio, according to a CNBC report. That problem appeared to stem from a technical issue in an AWS data center in Virginia.