Equifax Parts Ways With CIO and CSO Following Data Breach

Today’s topics include the resignations of Equifax’s CIO and CSO after the data breach; Oracle’s release of a new SPARC platform following reports of layoffs; Microsoft Bing’s new Fact Check label; and Google’s proposal of an auction for ads displayed on web search results pages.

Equifax announced on Sept.15 that Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin are retiring as a direct result of the massive data breach the company recently suffered. Webb is being replaced by Mark Rohrwasser, Equifax’s international CIO since July 2016, and the new CSO is Russ Ayres, a senior IT manager since January 2015.

"Equifax's internal investigation of this incident is still ongoing and the company continues to work closely with the FBI in its investigation," the company stated.

Equifax has also confirmed reports that the initial attack vector into the breached application was a known vulnerability in the open-source Apache Struts framework. Although the Apache Struts project patched that vulnerability in March, Equifax was unable to patch it before attackers exploited the dispute portal web application in May.

Oracle is rolling out the latest generation of its SPARC platform and unveiling systems powered by the new processors and aimed at such workloads as databases, Java and in-memory analytics.

Company officials are boasting of significant performance improvements, not only over the previous generation of SPARC chips but also Intel x86-based Xeon processors. This announcement comes about two weeks after reports that Oracle is laying off about 2,500 job cuts that will mainly affect its SPARC and Solaris divisions.

Oracle also touted expansions in what the company offers in Silicon Secured Memory, which includes always-on hardware-based memory protection and end-to-end encryption as well as performance and efficiency enhancements through Data Analytics Accelerators.

Microsoft is making it easier to spot fake news and identify authentic journalism using its Bing search engine. Following in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft is adding a Fact Check label to Bing's search results.

"The label may be used on both news articles and web pages that Bing has determined contain fact check information to allow users to have additional information to judge for themselves what information on the internet is trustworthy," Microsoft stated in a blog post. "The label may be used on a broad category of queries including news, health, science and politics," continued the company. "Bing may apply this label to any page that has schema.org ClaimReview markup included on the page."

Use of the ClaimReview tag on a web page requires transparency in terms of sources, methods and citations as they appear in an online article.

Google is proposing an auction plan that would enable competing shopping sites to bid for any spot in Google's Product Listing Ads section that appears at the top of the results page when people search for products, according to a Reuters report.

The proposal is in response to a directive from European Union antitrust regulators that Google take action to ensure that rival comparison-shopping websites get the same visibility in search results that Google gives to its own shopping site. EU regulators fined Google $2.9 billion after determining the company was using its market muscle to shut out competing shopping sites from product search results.

While Google’s proposal would allow rival sites to get visibility at the top of the results page, they would need to pay for that visibility.