Google Purges More Than 300 WireX DDoS Botnet Apps from Play Store

Today’s topics include Google's quick move to purge more than 300 malicious Play Store apps that were launching distributed denial of service attacks; a survey showing that Microsoft’s Surface PC line is gaining market share; Microsoft's promise that affordable mixed-reality gear will go on sale in time for the holidays; and Western Digital's acquisition of flash-storage maker Tegile Systems.

On Aug. 28 a group of security vendors jointly revealed that they worked together to help identify and disrupt the operations of a mobile Android device botnet known as WireX.

The botnet made use of more than 300 malware infected apps that Google has now removed from the Play store, to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Among the security vendors that collaborated in the WireX disruption effort were Akamai, Cloudflare, Flashpoint, Google, RiskIQ and Team Cymru. According to the security researchers, a minimum of 70,000 IP addresses were involved in the WireX attacks.

"WireX is a volumetric DDoS attack at the application layer," the researchers wrote in a joint analysis. "In other words, the botnet produces traffic resembling valid requests from generic HTTP clients and web browsers."

Despite some early stumbles, Microsoft's decision to enter the PC hardware market appears to be paying off. The tech giant trails just behind Apple in the business PC laptop and desktop market, according to a Spiceworks survey of nearly 1,000 IT professionals in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Currently 3 percent of organizations use Microsoft-branded PC compared to the four percent that use Apple Macs. "Since jumping into the hardware market with its Surface line, Microsoft has had success making inroads into the tablet and 2-in-1 market," Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, told eWEEK.

"Many IT pros praised the hardware's sleek design, powerful specifications in a highly-portable package, and their ability to run Windows, which allows employees to be productive while giving IT departments management flexibility." The Surface Pro, for example, offers corporate IT buyers a blend of premium packaging and powerful processors.

HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented-reality headset, is one way to experience the company's mixed-reality technologies, which can convincingly blend situationally-aware computing and 3D graphics with real-world environments to produce engrossing new experiences.

The downside is that the device costs $3,000. However, this holiday season, Microsoft and its hardware partners are joining forces to deliver mixed-reality hardware with prices that are a little more down to earth.

"A variety of Windows Mixed Reality headsets and motion controllers will be available this holiday from HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Acer," said Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman. "Headset and motion controller bundles will start as low as $399 and will be compatible with existing and new PC models starting at $499.”

On August 29th, Western Digital of San Jose, California, put some pressure on solid state-storage market competitors Samsung and Seagate by announcing that it will acquire flash storage maker Tegile Systems of neighboring Newark, Calif.

Tegile has been a rising player in the flash storage market since its launch in 2012, and will bring a non-trivial 1,700 new customers to Western Digital’s Data Center Systems business.

Western Digital already owns Hitachi Data Systems and SanDisk, two older, more conventional data storage companies established long before the cloud era. Now, with Tegile, it will own new-generation, persistent-memory storage designed and built in the last five years specifically for cloud-optimized data centers.