• United States

Groove slashes 20% of payroll

Mar 10, 20034 mins
Access ControlCRM SystemsMalware

Plus: IETF creates anti-spam working group; GSA and DOD join Liberty Alliance; CRM software bought but not used; Internet speed record set; and, University of Texas at Austin hack job reveals personal information.

•   Groove Networks laid off 20% of its workforce last week and also announced that it had closed a fifth round of financing worth $38 million from investors that include Accel Partners, Intel Capital and Microsoft. The company now has raised more than $155 million since its founding in October 1997. Groove says the elimination of 58 positions represents the completion of a restructuring of its sales, marketing and services organizations. The company says the move reflects the Fortune 500 companies’ slowdown in software spending. Groove shipped its first product in April 2001 and released Version 2.5 of Groove Workspace this month.

•  Underscoring growing concern over spam, the Internet Engineering Task Force has created an Anti-Spam Research Group that aims to put unsolicited commercial e-mail in its cross hairs by setting standards for spam detection and potential legislation. The antispam group will work within the organization’s Internet Research Task Force and will investigate whether a single architecture can be implemented that will let e-mail receivers express their consent and, more importantly, lack of consent for certain communications. This approach is because everyone’s definition of spam is different, the group said, making e-mail a consent-based communication. The antispam group wants to develop an architecture with three components: consent expression, consent enforcement and source tracking. The ASRG will hold its first meeting March 20 in San Francisco.

•  The General Services Administration and U.S. Department of Defense last week became the latest members to join the Liberty Alliance, a group working to create a standards-based specification for federated user identity. The group, which now has 160 members, also added to its membership rolls Lockheed Martin, the largest provider of IT services, systems integration and training to the U.S. government. The government is said to be interested in exploring how the Liberty Alliance specifications can help government organizations authenticate the identity of users that do business with government groups over the Internet. The alliance is expected to announce Version 2.0 of its specification this summer.

•  Much of the CRM software that companies buy ends up unused, according to data Gartner released last week. The research firm found that 42% of CRM software licenses respondents bought were not deployed. Despite tight expense controls, companies have been buying more CRM software licenses than they can use, Gartner says. While that might seem to make sense in the short term, in the long term it costs companies more – a 20% to 30% increase in total cost of ownership, compared with companies that carefully plan their CRM software license purchases, Gartner says.

•  A team of scientists at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center says it has set an Internet speed record using fiber-optic cables to send 6.7G bytes of data – the equivalent of two DVD movies – across 6,800 miles in only 58 seconds. The transfer of uncompressed data occurred at 923M bit/sec from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Amsterdam. That’s about 3,500 times faster than a typical Internet broadband connection. “By exploring the edges of Internet technologies’ performance envelope, we are improving our . . . ability to implement new networking technologies,” researcher Les Cottrell told CNN. The experiment could “bring high-speed data transfer to practical, everyday applications, such as doctors at multiple sites sharing and discussing a patient’s [heart test results] to diagnose and plan treatment,” Cottrell says.

•  An Internet-based attack on computer systems at the University of Texas at Austin yielded personal information on more than 55,000 individuals, including current and former students, current and former faculty, staff and job applicants, according to a statement posted on the university’s Web site. The attacker or attackers apparently used a “blunt force” approach to cracking the system, writing a program that input millions of Social Security numbers to the system. Social Security numbers that matched records in the UT database were captured. In addition to the victims’ Social Security numbers, the attackers gained access to e-mail addresses, titles, phone numbers and university department addresses. Academic and health records were not exposed, the university said. The university is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Secret Service to locate those responsible for the break-in and is working to contact all those affected by the attack.