Russia-Based Kaspersky Has Security Products Banned at US Agencies

Today’s topics include a Department of Homeland Security ban on federal agencies from using Kaspersky Lab security products; Google’s alleged scraping of Yelp content in violation of an FTC agreement; a new Bing feature that can detect objects within web images; and hyperscalers like Google, Amazon and Facebook driving the server market.

The U.S. government has banned federal agencies from using products made by Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab, concluding that the level of access that the security products have to be too great a risk for national security.

In a Binding Operational Directive published Sept. 13, Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke gave federal agencies 30 days to identify any use of Kaspersky products, 60 days to develop plans to remove them and 90 days to transition to another vendor.

In a statement announcing the directive, the DHS said, “Kaspersky antivirus products and solutions provide broad access to files and elevated privileges on the computers on which the software is installed, which can be exploited by malicious cyber actors to compromise those information systems.”

Yelp has accused Google of scraping photos of local businesses from Yelp's site and displaying them in Google's own local search results in violation of commitments the search giant had made with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in December 2012.

The dispute centers on a Google commitment to allow third-party website owners to opt out of having any form of content from their sites displayed on Google properties including local search. "The scale of this image content scraping suggests this is not an unintended glitch," said Luther Lowe, Yelp's vice president of global public policy.

In response, Google said this is the first time the company has heard of Yelp’s complaint and if Yelp had raised the concerns earlier, it would have immediately taken steps to remedy it, as Google is doing now.

Bing has not only grown some eyes, it has begun to learn how to use them. Using machine learning, image recognition and other artificial intelligence technologies, Microsoft's search engine can now automatically detect objects within a photo online.

The new feature supplements an existing object recognition tool called Detailed View that allows users to draw a box around an item in a picture and search the web for similar-looking items and related shopping links.

In addition, a new People Recognition feature automatically displays a box around the faces of public figures when they appear in an image search. Clicking on the box offers a snippet of information about the person.

Hyperscale data center operators such as Amazon, Google and Facebook continue to drive the global server market, and the original design manufacturers they largely rely on are continuing to grow as a major presence in the space. Server revenue and shipments grew in the second quarter of 2017 over the same period last year and the hyperscale companies were the driving force behind the trend, according to analysts with Gartner and IDC.

Hyperscalers tend to embrace the latest chip architectures faster than traditional organizations and are an indication of the continuing influence of cloud computing in the enterprise, according to Kuba Stolarski, research director for computing platforms at IDC.

Both IDC and Gartner had Hewlett Packard Enterprise as the top server vendor in the second quarter in terms of revenue, with a market share of more than 20 percent.