The Buzz: March 19, 2001

Oracle, Ellison Hit By Lawsuites; EMC Shoots for NCAA; New Weakness Found in TCP


Oracle, Ellison Hit by Lawsuits

Oracle and its chairman and CEO, Larry Ellison, face more lawsuits that claim he and other company officials artificially pumped up the companys stock by overstating the success of its products, then sold shares just before issuing an earnings warning that sent the shares plummeting.

Last week, a San Diego law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Local 144 Nursing Home Pension Fund, claiming the fund lost upward of $1 million.

Later in the week, another stockholder, Hansyorg Blattner, filed a suit in Delaware.

Both lawsuits claim Ellison and others misrepresented the success of Oracle products, including its 11i e-business suite, which inflated share prices. Ellison then sold more than $900 million worth of stock just before the company issued an earnings warning March 1, which sent share prices spiraling. Oracle stock dropped about 21 percent March 2.


EMC Shoots for NCAA

EMC last week tipped off a multimillion-dollar TV advertising campaign designed to make its name as ubiquitous as its data storage components.

The ads started airing during the beginning of the NCAA mens basketball tournament, which will be seen by millions of viewers over the next three weeks. The ads will also appear on U.S. cable news networks and international outlets and in print.

EMC is a leader in the booming data storage industry, ahead of such companies as Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, but it lacks the same name recognition.


New Weakness Found in TCP

In 1985, an AT&T researcher found a problem in TCP he said could enable an attacker to impersonate a trusted host. In response, many vendors updated their software to guard against it.

Last week, another researcher, Tim Newsham at Guardent, found another problem in TCP that is similar to the one discovered 16 years ago.

Newsham said he found that a skilled attacker could still glean enough information from other TCP sessions between two hosts to infer the initial sequence number value, something the changes in 1985 were meant to prevent.