Google, Facebook, Twitter Have Too Much Power, Franken Asserts

Today’s topics include Sen. Al Franken wanting to curb the power of Google, Facebook and Twitter; Qualcomm launching its Centriq 2400 Arm-based server processor; Brian Krebs urging chief information security officers to hack their own networks to locate security weaknesses; and AWS launching PrivateLink Endpoints.

At an Open Markets Institute event last week, Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota expressed alarm over the power that Google, Facebook and Twitter have acquired on the internet—while questioning their ability to responsibly handle that power.

“As tech giants become a new kind of Internet gatekeeper ... no one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t,” Franken said. Many lawmakers are grappling with recent revelations about Russia's manipulation of social media during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and are shocked at the extent to which technology companies are guiding what Americans regularly see, read and buy, he said.

Also concerning to Franken is how Google and Facebook are using the personal information of Americans to further consolidate market power and exert unfair influence over content creators who need their platforms to reach audiences.

Qualcomm is now selling its long-awaited Centriq 2400 Arm-based server processor in hopes of challenging rival Intel in the rapidly changing data center market. Qualcomm claims the Centriq 2400, which is aimed at the fast-growing cloud market, beats Intel in such crucial areas as power efficiency and cost.

The data center is undergoing dramatic changes due to the rise of public and private cloud infrastructures and the emergence of such modern workloads as data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and network virtualization.

Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s data center business, said Qualcomm is targeting Centriq 2400 at cloud companies, which “develop and maintain their own software, are inclined to take advantage of new technologies, and can optimize these technologies for their environments very quickly.”

At Gigamon's Cybersecurity Summit in New York City Nov. 8, researcher Brian Krebs claimed that today's big security breaches are yesterday's news for seasoned cyber-attackers.

Krebs said all the personally identifiable information exposed in the recent Equifax breach has already “been compromised a hundred times over in the last decade. More importantly, it's broadly for sale in the cyber-crime underground.”

Rather than reflexively seek out new-and-improved security systems, Krebs suggests enterprises assume they have already been compromised and employ periodic penetration testing and routinely hack themselves. A “red team” of IT security personnel should attack their own networks, while a “blue team” monitors the networks and mounts defenses, he said. At the end of the day, the two teams compare notes and take appropriate steps to harden their networks.

Amazon Web Services is expanding its private cloud options with the launch of AWS PrivateLink, an endpoint service for customers who want to access the cloud in a highly available and scalable manner yet keep all the traffic within AWS.

Creating endpoints has been a popular way among users to securely access S3 and DynamoDB from an Amazon virtual private cloud without the need for an internet gateway, a network address translation gateway or firewall proxies.

Colm MacCárthaigh, senior engineer for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, said, “With PrivateLink, endpoints are … created directly inside of your VPC … enabling connectivity to AWS services via private IP addresses.” Customers can now manage fleets of instances, create and manage catalogs of IT services, and store and process data without requiring the traffic to traverse the public internet.