Analysts Offer Mixed Views on AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Today's topics include AT&T's plans to buy Time Warner, the massive DDoS attack that exposed the poor security on network nodes, the success of the DOD's Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program and Kodak's unveiling of its first-ever smartphone.

AT&T has confirmed that is acquiring Time Warner. The combination of the two companies will join AT&T's wireless, broadband and satellite TV offerings together with entertainment content from Time Warner. Time Warner owns cable networks, including TNT, TBS, CNN and HBO, as well as the Warner Bros. film and TV studio. The talks toward what likely will be a cash-and-stock deal have come together quickly, according to people familiar with the matter.

The $85.4 billion Time Warner deal follows AT&T's July 2015 acquisition of DirecTV for $48.5 billion as the company has been working to bring together companies that can help drive its continuing growth with customers.

The massive distributed denial-of-service attack that took out many popular internet services on Oct. 21 was effective because it targeted part of the core infrastructure of the internet—the Domain Name System. The DNS service that was targeted, DynDNS, is used by a number of major websites, ranging from Twitter to Spotify. When their access to DNS was interrupted, those services became inaccessible. The DNS, the service that translates the names you type into your browser address bar to the IP addresses your computer uses, is critical to the functioning of the internet.

A DDoS attack on the DNS server that's used by those major services makes the internet unavailable to the internal networks of those services, which effectively takes the portion of the internet that uses those services offline.

The Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program—which Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced last March at the RSA security conference—lasted several weeks, but it was so successful that the Department of Defense is now following up with an expanded initiative. The results of the initial Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program, in which security researchers were rewarded for responsibly disclosing security bugs, were very positive: 1,400 security researchers participated and 138 serious vulnerabilities were discovered that the DOD fixed quickly. Building on that success, the new program is a three-year engagement and includes multiple active programs across the internet domains of the Pentagon.

Kodak has unveiled its first-ever smartphone, the Kodak Ektra, which sports a retro camera-like design and a 21-megapixel fast-focus main rear camera. The new 4G LTE-enabled phone, which will be available in Europe later this year for about $550, won't initially be sold anywhere else, but "may come to the U.S. in 2017."

The Ektra smartphone features a Helio X20 2.3GHz deca-core processor, 3GB of memory, 32GB of on-board storage and the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. But the key features in Kodak's offering are its cameras, including the 21-megapixel main rear camera that features an f2.0 lens and 4K video capabilities, and a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with an f2.2 PDAF lens. And setting the handset apart from competitors, the Kodak Ektra includes a top-mounted physical shutter button, like those found on traditional cameras both analog and digital.

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