British Airways Investigating Cause of Massive IT Outage

Today’s topics include British Airways' investigation of a massive IT outage over the Memorial Day weekend; the firing of an executive at the center of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo involving the alleged theft of self-driving vehicle trade secrets; the report of a point-of-sale data breach at the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain; and the debut of Windows 10 PCs powered by AMD Ryzen chips.

British Airways' IT staff is investigating what caused the total shut down of its computer systems and bringing its flight operations worldwide to a sudden halt.

“It was not an IT issue; it was a power issue,” a British Airways spokesperson told eWEEK in an email. “There was a total loss of power. The power then returned in an uncontrolled way, causing physical damage to the IT servers. We know what happened,” the spokesperson added, “we are investigating why it happened.”

However, the power companies serving Heathrow Airport and the BA data centers issued statements that there was no disruption in their services. The shutdown stranded as many as 300,000 passengers after forcing the cancellation of hundreds of British Airways flights in both the U.S. and United Kingdom.

Uber has fired its vice president of technology, Anthony Levandowski, amid a nasty legal battle with Waymo over his alleged theft of self driving-vehicle trade secrets.

Waymo, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, figured something was wrong in January 2016, when Levandowski secretly downloaded 14,000 pages of documents, quit his job and went out the door with them. This was according to The New York Times, which broke the story about Levandowski's firing on May 30.

San Francisco-based Uber notified employees of the staffing move via internal email. Waymo's lawsuit, filed in February, accuses Uber of trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement and unfair competition.

Restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is the latest to reveal that its payment card systems were breached, exposing users to cyber-crime risks.

Chipotle first began to investigate the possibility of a point-of-sale (PoS) breach on April 25 and has now confirmed that many of its restaurants were in fact exploited by PoS malware between March 24 and April 18.

Chipotle has not publicly identified the specific strain of PoS malware that infected its systems, though it has stated that the malware has been removed. Chipotle has also stated that it is working with undisclosed cyber-security firms to help improve the company's security.

The world's Windows PC makers have been gathering this week in Taipei to show off their latest wares at Computex. This year, Dell, one of Microsoft's staunchest hardware partners, took the wraps off new Windows 10 systems powered by Ryzen, AMD's latest processor line.

PC enthusiasts and chip industry watchers are keeping a watchful eye on Ryzen, which is widely considered AMD's first serious challenge to Intel in years. Boasting a powerful and energy-efficient microarchitecture, Ryzen processors are designed to make quick work of business application workloads and help drive virtual reality experiences that can be taxing to run-of-the-mill hardware.