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7/19/2011
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LulzSec Hacks Murdoch's Sun, Cisco Sheds 6,500 Jobs

LulzSec's retirees came out of self-imposed exile and played a mean game of bingo against Rupert Murdoch Monday.

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Retirement didn't last long for LulzSec. The "hacktivist" group reemerged yesterday to strike The Sun newspaper's site, on the eve of Murdoch having to testify before British parliament in response to the mobile phone hacking scandal at the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid. LulzSec pointed Sun visitors to an article claiming the embattled Murdoch had died. For a time, the hackers also pointed visitors to a LulzSec Twitter feed.

"Thank you for the love tonight," read a LulzSec tweet. "I know we quit, but we couldn't sit by with our wine watching this walnut-faced Murdoch clowning around."

Do you know if Murdoch's reporters (or that nosy guy in the next cube) could break into your mobile phone voice mail? As InformationWeek.com's Kurt Marko reports, it's a good time to review your own mobile phone's security.

LulzSec seems to have more admirers than Harry Potter this week. Yesterday, LulzSec admirers the "Crazies" claimed to have hacked the network of the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and stolen sensitive information. The Crazies, like LulzSec, cite political motivation to strike against the government.

LulzSec hacker pals Anonymous declared they will create their own social network after being blocked by Google+. Ironically, a distributed denial of service attack left that social network's developer forum offline Monday afternoon, according to the AnonPlus Twitter feed.

What's next, a LulzSec Wall Street Journal hack to protest the U.S. debt crisis talks--or an Anonymous Facebook page?

One thing's clear: LulzSec takes the phrase "retire and complain about the government full time" to a whole new level.

Monday was also an ugly day at Cisco, which cut 6,500 jobs. As the company refocuses on core technologies after disappointing results last quarter, 2,100 employees have elected to take early retirement and 4,400 will be laid off. The VP-and-higher ranks will slim down by 15%, Cisco said.

As InformationWeek.com's Charles Babcock notes, the company's future focus emphasizes its UCS technology. "Perhaps Cisco's biggest investment has been in its entry into the blade server market with unified computing system (UCS) products, which are geared to work with a network fabric that maximizes throughput to virtual machine hosts," Babcok notes. "Cisco claimed 5,400 UCS customers at its Cisco Live user group conference in Las Vegas last week. Competing server vendors, such as IBM and HP, would count much higher revenues from their investment in blades."

With UCS, Cisco must to continue to fight what Art Wittmann, director of InformationWeek Analytics, called a multiple-front war against HP, IBM, Juniper, Brocade, and Dell.

"For many customers, it's simply a bridge too far with a technology that's untested. Cisco's 2010 total sales of just $181 million for UCS show just how far it has to go in that market," Wittmann notes in that analysis.

Now Cisco is striving to cut a cool $1 billion from its operating expenses.

Perhaps Cisco COO Gary Moore should hunker down in Washington D.C. for a consult on that debt crisis.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

The vendors, contractors, and other outside parties with which you do business can create a serious security risk. Here's how to keep this threat in check. Also in the new, all-digital issue of Dark Reading: Why focusing solely on your own company's security ignores the bigger picture. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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