Tag Archive for Toshiba

Is Toshiba Screwed?

http://www.toshiba.com/tai/The tortuous auction of Toshiba’s coveted NAND chip fab has finally started to wrap up. You would think that after over nine months of bidding and 2 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) the victors would like to gloat. A win of that size would be celebrated, but nooo….

The winning partners lead by venture capitalist Bain Capital and Apple can’t even agree on when to hold a presser to announce their purchase. The consortium had planned a presser for 09-28-2017, which was abruptly cancelled just minutes before it was due to begin according to reports. Reuters reports that “…the consortium could not form a consensus on whether to brief media.”

PangeaOne wrinkle may be that Apple (AAPL) has demanded new terms on its chip supply for the new iPhones. In addition to Apple, Bain’s consortium “Pangea” includes Japan’s Hoya Corporation, South Korea’s SK Hynix, and U.S. investors Kingston Technology (KINS), Seagate Technology (STX) and Dell Technologies Capital.- all of which want access to NAND technology.

Under the deal, Toshiba will have 40.2 percent of voting rights in the chip unit and Hoya will own 9.9 percent. The four U.S. tech firms will not have voting rights.

Western DigitalBesides internal strife, the sale also faces legal challenges from Western Digital (WDC), Toshiba’s chip venture partner and rejected suitor, which is seeking an injunction to block any deal that does not have its consent.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000. It sees chips as a key pillar of growth and is desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chip makers.

Bain has also announced that it plans to take Pangea public by 2020.

Can Toshiba Stay in Business?

Can Toshiba Stay in Business?Updated 06-22-2017 – As predicted below, the NYT reports that the Japanese government formed a coalition including the US venture capital firm Bain Capital to buy Toshiba’s microchip division. Estimates are the deal is worth approx. $20 Billion.

Toshiba is being driven to sell off its crown jewel, its microchip business, to stabilize the international giant. The New York Times reports that the stalwart of Japan’s postwar rise as a global industrial giant warned that its has doubts over whether it could stay in business. In a filing in Japan, Toshiba said it wrote off more than $6 billion connected to Westinghouse Electric’s troubled nuclear reactor projects in the United States, had created “substantial uncertainty” over its ability to continue as a going concern.

ToshibaThe Toshiba microchip division is the number two global provider of NAND flash memory. NAND flash memory is a type of non-volatile storage technology that does not need power to retain data. Flash memory is electronic (solid-state) non-volatile computer storage medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.

Toshiba originally invented flash memory in the early 1980s from EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory). They introduced it to the market in 1984. Called flash memory, after the flash on a camera, the chips have become an essential building blocks of the modern electronics industry.

WestinghouseThe two main types of flash memory are named after the NAND and NOR logic gates. The individual flash memory cells have internal characteristics similar to those of the corresponding gates.

Where EPROMs had to be completely erased before being rewritten, NAND-type flash memory may be written and read in blocks (or pages) which are generally smaller than the entire device. NOR-type flash allows a single machine word (byte) to be written—an erased location—read independently.

NAND flash memoryThe NAND type operates primarily in memory cards, USB flash drives, some solid-state drives, and similar products for general storage and transfer of data. NAND or NOR flash memory is also often used to store configuration data in many digital products, a task previously made possible by EEPROM or battery-powered static RAM. One key disadvantage of flash memory is that it can only endure a relatively small number of write cycles in a specific block.

Toshiba manufactures its NAND Flash Memories at its Yokkaichi Operations to maintain quality.

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) is the biggest maker of flash memory chips, followed by Toshiba, SK Hynix and U.S.-based Micron Technology (MU).

many as 12 companies have approached Toshiba with proposalsA sale of Toshiba’s chip business, while offering the business a lifeline, would take away its most successful business — and, more broadly, would represent a shift of a major technology away from Japan, depending on the buyer. The Toshiba sale is still in its early stages, and the NYT say as many as 12 companies have approached Toshiba with proposals. Reports are that Toshiba is asking bidders to value its operations at about $17.6 billion (2 trillion yen), and make at least a 50 percent investment.

One of the better-known suitors is Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn. Foxconn is the assembler of Apple (AAPL) iPhones and is world’s largest contract electronics maker. Foxconn is based in Taiwan but performs most of its manufacturing in mainland China. According to the article Foxconn could pay billions to buy the business.

offered $27 billionSources told Japanese public broadcaster NHK the first round of the Toshiba auction drew 10 offers. Toshiba has narrowed the field of bidders for its chip unit to four: U.S. chipmaker Broadcom (AVGO), a private equity firm Silver Lake Partners which reportedly offered $18 billion; SK Hynix; Western Digital (WDC); and Foxconn (2354), reports say Foxconn offered $27 billion.

Apple is considering teaming up with its supplier Foxconn to bid for Toshiba semiconductor business, Japan’s NHK reported. Apple is considering investing at least several billion dollars to take a stake of more than 20 percent as part of a plan that would have Toshiba keep a partial holding so the business remains under U.S. and Japanese control, NHK reported.

The authors point out Toshiba’s situation is a remarkable turnabout for Japan, a country that once controlled the majority of microchip markets. In the past Japanese companies have banded together to rescue flailing domestic rivals and not let them fold or be acquired by foreigners.

BankersThe article speculates that the Japanese government may cobble together a “team Japan” offer, but the response from potential participants — who would have to explain the spending to shareholders — has been tepid. “It is fundamentally unthinkable that the Industry Ministry would intervene and take some kind of action,” Hiroshige Seko, the industry minister, said at a news conference, further dampening expectations.

Mark Newman, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, argued in a report that Toshiba’s memory business remained valuable enough that selling it amounted to “selling the crown jewels to pay next month’s rent.”

Apple teaming up with its supplier Foxconn to bid for ToshibaJapanese politicians and industry leaders have voiced concerns over Chinese investors’ buying advanced chip production technology; semiconductors and memory are a major priority of China’s industrial policy. That could hinder any deal with Foxconn, said Mr. Newman, of Sanford C. Bernstein.

The worry is that Foxconn “would build huge fabs in China,” Mr. Bernstein said, referring to semiconductor fabrication plants. “The jobs would move to China from Japan, and furthermore China would go after market share at the expense of crushing industry economics, so the U.S., Taiwan, Korea, Japan all get hurt substantially by this arrangement.” Foxconn has been successful in attracting subsidies from the Chinese government to build large-scale production facilities in China.

The article speculates that Foxconn could take the Toshiba technology and manufacture it more cheaply in China. Such a move could drive down pricing for memory, a boon for Apple and low-cost Chinese smartphone makers. But it would also propel China forward in its long push to become internationally competitive in semiconductors. Mr. Newman has warned that competition in NAND chips could heat up next year, creating the possibility of oversupply and putting more pressure on Toshiba’s ability to put in effect next-generation technologies.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Bad Passwords Crippled the Web

Bad Passwords Crippled the WebFollowers of the Bach Seat know that passwords suck and now default passwords really suck. In fact default passwords seem to be a key part of the massive DDOS attack disabled large parts of the Internet on October 21, 2016. The cyberattack targeted Internet traffic company DYN. DYN provides DNS services for many high-profile sites. Some of the sites effected by the attack on Dyn included; Amazon (AMZN), Business Insider, New York Times, Reddit and Twitter (TWTR).

Chinese electronics company Hangzhou Xiongmai webcamsSecurity researcher Brian Krebs, whose site, krebsonsecurity.com, was one of the first sites hit by a massive 620 GB/s DDoS attack, has reported the Mirai botnet was at the center of the attack on his site. CIO.com reports  ‘Mirai’ can break into a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices from CCTV cameras to DVRs to home networking equipment turning them into ‘bots’. CIO reports a single Chinese vendor, Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology made many of the devices used in the Mirai attacks.

Level 3 Communications says there are nearly half a million Mirai-powered bots worldwide. To amass an IoT botnet, a Mirai bot herder scans a broad range of IP addresses, trying login to devices using a list of default usernames and passwords that are baked into Mirai code, according to US-CERT. The Mirai zombie devices are largely security cameras, DVRs and home routers. Mr. Krebs identified some of the specific devices.

Mirai Passwords

UsernamePasswordFunction
admin123456
root123456ACTi IP camera
adminpassword
admin1password
rootpassword
admin12345
root12345
guest12345
admin1234
root1234
administrator1234
888888888888
666666666666Dahua IP camera
admin(none)
admin1111Xerox printers, etc.
admin1111111Samsung IP camera
admin54321
admin7ujMko0adminDahua IP camera
adminadmin
adminadmin1234
adminmeinsmMobotix network camera
adminpass
adminsmcadminSMC router
Administratoradmin
guestguest
motherfucker
root(none)Viviotek IP camera
root00000000Panasonic printers
root1111
root54321Packet8 VoIP phone
root666666Dahua DVR
root7ujMko0adminDahua IP camera
root7ujMko0vizxvDahua IP camera
root888888Dahua DVR
rootadminIPX-DDK network camera
rootankoAnko Products DVR
rootdefault
rootdreamboxDreambox TV receiver
roothi3518HiSilicon IP Camera
rootikwbToshiba network camera
rootjuantechGuangzhou Juan Optical
rootjvbzdHiSilicon IP Camera
rootklv123HiSilicon IP Camera
rootklv1234HiSilicon IP Camera
rootpass
rootrealtekRealtek router
rootroot
rootsystemIQinVision camera, etc.
rootuser
rootvizxvDahua camera
rootxc3511H.264 - Chinese DVR
rootxmhdipcSenzhen Anran security camera
rootzlxx.EV ZLX two way speaker
rootZte521ZTE router
serviceservice
supervisorsupervisorVideoIQ
supportsupport
techtech
ubntubntUbiquiti AirOS Router
useruser

US-CERT says the purported author of Mirai claims to have 380,000 IoT devices are under its control. Some estimate the botnet has generated greater than 1Tbps DDoS attacks.

DDoS attacksWhen Mirai botnets are called upon to carry out DDoS attacks, they can draw on a range of tools including ACK, DNS, GRE, SYN, UDP and Simple Text Oriented Message Protocol (STOMP) floods, says Josh Shaul, vice president of web security for Akamai.

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Followers of Bach Seat already know that many of the default passwords used by Mirai are among the worst and should have been changed already. They include:

  • Password
  • 123456
  • 12345
  • 1234

While reports say Chinese vendor, XiongMai Technologies equipment was widely exploited, other notable tech firms are included. The Mirai zombie army includes equipment from Xerox (XRX), Toshiba (TOSBF), Samsung (005930), Panasonic (6752) and ZTE (763).

I wrote about security cameras being compromised as part of botnets back in July here.

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Wi-Fi Settlement to Cost Billions

Wi-Fi Settlement to Cost BillionsAustralia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization  (CSIRO) confirmed (4-22-09) that the patent cases being heard in the Eastern District Court of Texas over CSIRO’s claim to inventing the technology behind Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) has concluded “successfully.”

CSIRO logoCSIRO claims to have patented core elements of the technology used in 802.11a and 802.11g wireless devices. “CSIRO has negotiated settlement with each of the 14 companies involved in four concurrent litigation cases,” the agency said in a statement. “The commercial terms of the settlements with these companies will remain confidential.”

The CSIRO first applied for the US patent in 1993 and was awarded US patent number 5,487,069,  entitled “Wireless LAN” on 23 January 1996, and is for a “peer-to-peer wireless LAN” that can operate in the kind of multi-path environment created by radio echoes in typical office buildings. The patent describes three ways to get high-speed transmission despite the hostile conditions in an office environment by transmitting over a relatively large number of parallel sub-channels within the available bandwidth so that each channel has a low bit rate; transmitting data in small packets with forward error correction (FEC); and using interleaving. These concepts are all featured in descriptions of the 802.11 physical layer. claims to have patented core elements of the technology used in 802.11a, 802.11g and 802.11n wireless devices.

Speed increases up to a factor of fiveCSIRO has previously said that its patent allowed speed increases up to a factor of five over previous WLANs, and that it had “offered licences on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to major suppliers as soon as they started selling devices which used the CSIRO technology.”

However, troubles began following the Cisco (CSCO) acquisition of Radiata from Macquarie University, which it had carried out for the purpose of commercializing CSIRO’s technology, which forms a key part of commonly used Wi-Fi products

The CSIRO filed patent infringement suits against 3Com, Accton (2345), ASUS (2357), Belkin, D-Link (DLINK), Fujitsu (6702), Marvell (MRVL), (manufacturers of Apple’s (AAPL) iPod), Nintendo (7978), SMC and Toshiba (TOSBF). Several large technology vendors bit back – with  Apple, Dell (DELL), HP (HPQ), Intel (INTC), Microsoft (MSFT), and Netgear (NTGR) bringing cases against CSIRO in trying to have the patent invalidated.

In June 2007, the CSIRO won a case in the US Federal Court against Japanese manufacturer Buffalo Technologies, the basis of which the firm has used to demand royalties from a broader set of manufacturers that market Wi-Fi equipment.

AHP Logos the case has played out in the last few weeks in and out of the Texas court, CSIRO struck individual deals with its adversary’s including; Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Intel, and Microsoft

HP was the first to settle on 04-02-09. CSIRO spokesperson Huw Morga  said “CSIRO can confirm that a settlement has been reached with Hewlett-Packard Company in relation to the wireless patent case,” Morgan continued  in the Sydney Morning Herald, “There will be no further comment at this time due to confidentiality and on-going litigation.”

Fujitsu LogoFujitsu Computer Systems Corp. was dismissed by the Court with prejudice the claims and counterclaims between CSIRO and Fujitsu in the first court-approved settlement to emerge in the case on April 8 with terms of the settlement to remain  confidential.

PC manufacturer Asus and Microsoft separately settled their lawsuits with the CSIRO on 04-14-09 terms of the settlement were not disclosed. CSIRO had accused Microsoft of wrongfully using its patent, while Microsoft was seeking a ruling of non-infringement for its networking wireless technology that includes an adapter for the Xbox video-game system.

Microsoft LogoIntel and Dell, also settled on 04-19-09 for undisclosed and confidential terms.

Accton Technology Corp., SMC Networks, Belkin Corp. and Belkin International, Inc., D-Link Systems, Inc., Netgear, Inc., Nintendo of America, Inc., Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., and 3Com Corp., announced on 4-20-09 that they had reached a settlement with CSIRO.

Cisco and its Linksys division aren’t on CSIRO’s list because Cisco agreed to patent terms when it acquired an Australian network authentication firm a few years ago. Apple dropped out in December 2006.

Dr. Alex Zelinsky, director of the CSIRO ICT Center confirmed that all CSIRO opponents had chosen to settle the wireless case and not go ahead with another trial.  CSIRO deputy chief of operations Mike Whelan said that the terms of the settlement would remain strictly confidential. Dr Zelinsky speculated to ITNews , however, that the pay off could be worth upwards from $100 million up to a billion dollars and keep royalty payment flowing into the agency for up to a decade.

Timeline

  • November 1993: CSIRO lodges US patent for the invention of a wireless LAN.
  • January 1996: US patent 5,487,069 is issued to CSIRO.
  • 1997: CSIRO and Macquarie University form Radiata, a company established for the purposes of commercializing the patent.
  • 2001: Cisco Systems acquires Radiata for $295 million.
  • 2003: CSIRO engages in patent licensing discussions with several manufacturers, none of which agree to pay licensing fees.
  • February 2005: CSIRO lodges a suit against Buffalo Technology for alleged patent violation in the Eastern District of Texas Court as a test case for its patent.
  • May 2005: Two groups of industry heavyweights — including Dell and Intel, and Microsoft, HP and Netgear, lodge lawsuits against CSIRO seeking to overturn its patent.
  • November 2006: CSIRO has its patent upheld by the Eastern District of Texas Court in its case against Buffalo Technology.
  • September 2006: CSIRO counter-sues the industry parties attempting to overturn its patent, claiming these companies infringe on its patents.
  • September 2007: CSIRO refuses to offer any amnesty to IEEE members that infringe on its patent.
  • April 02, 2009 HP settles suit.
  • April 13, 2009 Microsoft settles suit
  • April 20, 2009 all other firms settle suit.

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If your installation includes Aruba, Meru or Trapeze, you can hope that CISRO goes back to developing Wearable Instrument Shirts or Airhockey Over a Distance, and not squeezing more revenue for the tax payers of Australia out of this initial victory by going after all the other Wi-Fi vendors.  If upheld, CSIRO will collect what it has often described as a small royalty on all devices containing Wi-Fi.

The cases are:

  • Intel Corp. v. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, 06cv551
  • Microsoft Corp. v. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, 06cv549, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler)
Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.