Qualcomm Ups Its Offer for NXP, Angering Broadcom Officials

Today’s topics include how Qualcomm’s increased bid to buy chip maker NXP further complicates Broadcom’s attempt to buy out Qualcomm; why global cyber-crime hit an all-time high of $600 billion; IBM’s discovery an international business email scam costing $5 million; and Google’s Android Enterprise Recommended sets standards for Android devices.

Qualcomm raised its offer to acquire chip maker NXP from $38 billion to $44 billion to try to complete an acquisition first announced October 2016, but has been held up by reluctant NXP investors who own up 28 percent of their stock.

While the sweetened offer improved Qualcomm’s chances of acquiring NXP, it angered Broadcom executives, who have been pursuing a hostile bid for a resistant Qualcomm since November 2017.

Broadcom recently increased its offer to Qualcomm shareholders from about $105 billion to $121 billion. However, a day after Qualcomm announced the increased price for NXP, Broadcom officials reduced its offer for Qualcomm to $117 billion, saying that the new NXP price was far too high and represented a transfer of Qualcomm stock to NXP shareholders. They were also angry that Qualcomm executives did not consult Broadcom before raising its offer to NXP.

According to a Feb. 21 report by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the global costs associated with cyber-crime have grown in recent years to between $445 billion and $600 billion in 2017. That's up from a range of $345 billion to $445 billion in 2014.

The report comes a week after the White House released a report from the Council of Economic Advisers estimating the cost of malicious cyber-activity to the U.S. economy in 2016 at between $57 billion and $109 billion. The 2017 McAfee CSIS report estimates the cost of cyber-crime in North America at between $140 billion and $175 billion.

Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, said the economic impact of cyber-crime isn't just an IT issue, it's also a business risk issue, resulting in the theft of intellectual property and businesses’ confidential information, which accounts for a quarter of cyber-crime's economic impact.

IBM reported on Feb. 21 that its X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services unit discovered a large Business Email Compromise attack responsible for approximately $5 million in losses. The attack is likely based in Nigeria and has successfully targeted Fortune 500 companies, but is unlike and unrelated to the so-called "Nigerian Prince" email scams that first appeared in the late 1990s.

BEC attacks aim to trick users into paying fraudulent invoices. In this case, attackers obtained known contacts from a target employee's email address book in order to appear as a legitimate request.

Alexandrea Berninger, security intelligence analyst at IBM X-Force IRIS, explained that some companies received phishing messages or identified emails from attackers attempting to impersonate personnel, while others reached out to IBM after the fraud had already occurred.

Google has launched the new Android Enterprise Recommended program, under which it will certify Android devices that meet certain security and other requirements as being suitable for enterprise use.

More than 2 billion installed Android devices produced by hundreds of manufacturers are in use worldwide. This creates a lack of consistency in terms of operating system versions, ease of deployment, management support, and security patching. With Google’s new program, all products certified enterprise-ready must meet specific requirements for hardware quality, deployment, enrollment, security updates and usability.

The device must run Android 7.0 or later, be equipped with at least 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and provide at least 8 hours of battery life. There are also default apps that need to be included with each device, including Google cloud apps, Play Store and Messaging. Furthermore, third-party manufacturers must ensure their devices receive security updates within 90 days of release.