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  1. Symantec acquisition by Broadcom ends in license/support chaos Another short message for IT service providers and people who need licenses for Symantec security products. After Broadcom’s acquisition of Symantec, things are likely to go haywire and distributors will not be able to issue new licenses. Symantec Acquisition by Broadcom Symantec was sold some time ago for 10.7 billion US $ to the Broadcom. At the end of November 2019, I reported in my German article Symantec-Übernahme durch Broadcom abgeschlossen that Broadcom had declared the Symantec acquisition as completed. See also the above tweet from November 2019. So much for the background story. Something went terrible wrong In mid of February 2020 I received this German comment from blog reader Sileniu reporting a disturbing experience. Here is my translation: I spoke to Symantec support and a distributor and I am really speechless right now. Broadcom obviously doesn’t have the appropriate systems to manage license management. You can’t buy additional licenses right now! My distributor has about 1,200 customer inquiries that cannot be processed. There is exactly one more German-speaking member of the support staff, as apparently about half of the service MAs and developers have been laid off by Broadcom. Without words! After 15 years, I will probably have to look for alternatives for my customers. The Swiss site IT Reseller has published an article (in German) on this topic here. The IT magazine got the information from an anonymous source. The short version: During the company takeover, Symantec Switzerland is said to have experienced massive layoffs. In addition, resellers are no longer be able to purchase new licenses for Symantec products since the takeover. Quote from the article: A reseller of Symantec complains about huge problems with license purchase and license renewal In combination with the reader’s comment above, a conclusive picture emerges: Broadcom’s systems for managing these licenses simply cannot do this – licenses probably cannot be renewed when they expire, new licenses cannot be purchased. This is confirmed by the two sources above for Switzerland and Germany. It’s crashing worldwide There is also this comment in my German blog that refers to a Symantec forum discussion. But the link is broken because Broadcom redirects its own forums and all links break. You will be redirected on such linkt to the text page of Broadcom with the following content: Welcome to the Broadcom Community 3/2/20 – Please Read Update Over the weekend, we migrated all users and content from the Symantec Connect Community into the Broadcom Community. Based on permission changes, updates and overnight indexing, please expect Website slowdowns. Apologies for any inconvenience. @Jason McClellan Platform Manager Catalin Cimpanu has just pointed this out on Twitter – although I didn’t immediately understand it. But when I read the second tweet from Catalin Cimpanu, I got the right puzzle pieces together and see the whole image: So this is exactly the topic I mentioned above and discussed in the comments on the blog. And because of the forum redirection, the Symantec discussion posts at Broadcom have probably disappeared. So a complete failure – in my opinion, caused by the Broadcom management. Does the purchase pay off for Broadcom under these circumstances? Actually, Symantec customers can only flee under these circumstances, or how do you see it? Source: Symantec acquisition by Broadcom ends in license/support chaos (Born's Tech and Windows World)
  2. GOT PATCHES? — Flaw in billions of Wi-Fi devices left communications open to eavesdropping Cypress and Broadcom chip bug bit iPhones, Macs, Android devices, Echoes, and more. Enlarge SAN FRANCISCO — Billions of devices—many of them already patched—are affected by a Wi-Fi vulnerability that allows nearby attackers to decrypt sensitive data sent over the air, researchers said on Wednesday at the RSA security conference. The vulnerability exists in Wi-Fi chips made by Cypress Semiconductor and Broadcom, the latter whose Wi-Fi business was acquired by Cypress in 2016. The affected devices include iPhones, iPads, Macs, Amazon Echos and Kindles, Android devices, Raspberry Pi 3’s, and Wi-Fi routers from Asus and Huawei. Eset, the security company that discovered the vulnerability, said the flaw primarily affects Cyperess’ and Broadcom’s FullMAC WLAN chips, which are used in billions of devices. Eset has named the vulnerability Kr00k, and it is tracked as CVE-2019-15126. Manufacturers have made patches available for most or all of the affected devices, but it’s not clear how many devices have installed the patches. Of greatest concern are vulnerable wireless routers, which often go unpatched indefinitely. “This results in scenarios where client devices that are unaffected (either patched or using different Wi-Fi chips not vulnerable to Kr00k) can be connected to an access point (often times beyond an individual’s control) that is vulnerable,” Eset researchers wrote in a research paper published on Wednesday. “The attack surface is greatly increased, since an adversary can decrypt data that was transmitted by a vulnerable access point to a specific client (which may or may not be vulnerable itself).” A key consisting of all zeros Kr00k exploits a weakness that occurs when wireless devices disassociate from a wireless access point. If either the end-user device or the access point is vulnerable, it will put any unsent data frames into a transmit buffer and then send them over the air. Rather than encrypt this data with the session key negotiated earlier and used during the normal connection, vulnerable devices use a key consisting of all zeros, a move that makes decryption trivial. Disassociation typically happens when a client device roams from one Wi-Fi access point to another, encounters signal interference, or has its Wi-Fi turned off. Hackers within range of a vulnerable client device or access point can easily trigger disassociations by sending what’s known as management frames, which aren’t encrypted and require no authentication. This lack of security allows an attacker to forge management frames that manually trigger a disassociation. With the forced disassociation, vulnerable devices will typically transmit several kilobytes of data that’s encrypted with the all-zero session key. The hacker can then capture and decrypt the data. Eset researcher Robert Lipovsky told me hackers can trigger multiple disassociations to further the chances of obtaining useful data. The following two diagrams help illustrate how the attack works. Enlarge Eset Enlarge Eset Eset researchers determined that a variety of devices are vulnerable, including: Amazon Echo 2nd gen Amazon Kindle 8th gen Apple iPad mini 2 Apple iPhone 6, 6S, 8, XR Apple MacBook Air Retina 13-inch 2018 Google Nexus 5 Google Nexus 6 Google Nexus 6S Raspberry Pi 3 Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Samsung Galaxy S8 Xiaomi Redmi 3S The researchers also found that the following wireless routers are vulnerable: Asus RT-N12 Huawei B612S-25d Huawei EchoLife HG8245H Huawei E5577Cs-321 An Apple spokesman said the vulnerabilities were patched last October with details for macOS here and for iOS and iPadOS here. Manufacturers of other vulnerable devices that still receive patch support couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The researchers tested Wi-Fi chips from other manufacturers, including Qualcomm, Realtek, Ralink, and Mediatek and found no evidence any of them were vulnerable. Since it was impossible for the researchers to test all devices, it’s possible that other devices using Cypress and Broadcom chips are also affected. While the vulnerability is interesting and users should make sure their devices are patched quickly—if they aren’t already—there are a few things that minimize the real-world threat posed. For one thing, most sensitive communications in 2020 are already encrypted, usually with the transport layer security protocol or by other methods. A glaring exception to this is domain name lookups, which, unless a computer is using DNS over HTTPS or DNS over TLS, are sent entirely over plaintext. Hackers who viewed these requests would be able to learn what domain names users were accessing. Even if a vulnerable device is communicating over HTTP or another unencrypted channel, hackers could recover only several kilobytes of the data flowing over it at any one time. It’s doubtful attackers could time the disassociations in a way that would ensure passwords or other sensitive information would be captured. That means useful attacks would have to involve a large amount of luck or disassociations that occurred over and over in rapid succession. It also seems likely that repeated attacks would be easy to detect since Wi-Fi connections would start and stop repeatedly with no clear reason why. Despite the limited threat posed, readers should ensure their devices have received updates issued by the manufacturers. This advice is most important for users of vulnerable Wi-Fi routers, since routers are often hard to patch and because vulnerable routers leave communications open to interception even when client devices are unaffected or are already patched. Source: Flaw in billions of Wi-Fi devices left communications open to eavesdropping (Ars Technica)
  3. The school said that Broadcom chips used in Apple devices infringed upon its patents. Apple and Broadcom have been ordered to pay $1.1 billion in damages to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to settle a lawsuit brought forward on claims of patent infringement. As reported by Reuters, a Californian judge ordered the amount, in which Apple must pay $837.8 million and Broadcom faces a penalty of $270.2 million. Caltech sued the tech giants in 2016, alleging that components manufactured by Broadcom, such as chips used in Apple devices including iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch family product line, infringed upon a range of wireless patents owned by the academic institution. The companies have denied any patent infringement. Broadcom is a major supplier of chips in Apple mobile devices and Apple argued during the case that the tech giant should not be involved at all as a purchaser and "an indirect downstream party." Both Apple and Broadcom intend to appeal. While Apple declined to comment, Broadcom said: "We disagree with the factual and legal bases for the verdict." Caltech said it was pleased with the ruling. A spokesperson told the publication that the school is "committed to protecting its intellectual property in furtherance of its mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education." This is not the only lawsuit with the iPad and iPhone maker's name attached to it this week. The United States District Court for the Southern District of California has ruled that Apple must pay Quarterhill subsidiary WiLan, a "patent monetization" company, $85 million to settle a dispute over two mobile communications patents. WiLan originally sought $145.1 million. However, Apple argued that the way these damages were calculated was flawed, leading to a damages-only retrial. Legal rulings aside, Apple's recent Q1 2020 earnings surpassed analyst expectations, reporting revenue of $91.8 billion and $4.99 earnings per share, up 9 percent year-over-year. Apple cited a high demand for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro as well as wearable devices as key reasons for the strong quarter. Source
  4. Key Points Symantec, Broadcom cease deal negotiations, sources say. Symantec would not accept less than $28 a share, sources say. Symantec and Broadcom have ceased deal negotiations, sources tell CNBC's David Faber. The people familiar with the matter added that Symantec would not accept less than $28 a share. Symantec had surged earlier this month after it was revealed that Broadcom was in advanced talks to acquire the security software vendor. Faber had reported the two sides were negotiating a price and had seen possible synergies of $1.5 billion. Symantec shares dropped 12.8% to $22.30 on Monday. Symantec has been dogged in recent years by management turnover and a softer core business as cloud security companies have captured enterprise market share and as newer companies offer ways to protect mobile devices. Chipmaker Broadcom, in the middle of an acquisition sprint, bought CA Technologies for $19 billion last year and tried to purchase Qualcomm before the U.S. Department of Justice blocked the deal. Even without Symantec, Broadcom has been working to acquire an infrastructure software company and has considered Tibco, three people familiar with the matter told CNBC earlier this month. Vista Equity Partners acquired Tibco for $4.3 billion in 2014. Still, the acquisition of a software company could give Broadcom a needed boost as trade tensions hurt its core semiconductor business and its relationship with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Broadcom cut its forecast for chip sales this year by $2 billion after Huawei was blacklisted in May from buying U.S. technologies. Source
  5. LONDON/BENGALURU - Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O) sent a shockwave through the global chipmaking industry on Friday with its forecast that U.S.-China trade tensions and the ban on doing business with Huawei Technologies would knock $2 billion off the company’s sales this year. FILE PHOTO: Broadcom Limited company logo is pictured on an office building in Rancho Bernardo The forecast, included in the company’s second quarter results late on Thursday, was the hardest evidence yet of the damage President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing may do to the global industry. Shares in Broadcom fell 10% in early trading in New York, wiping more than $11 billion off the market value of the company, previously based in Asia but now with its headquarters and main listing in the United States. U.S. chipmakers Qualcomm , Applied Materials Inc, Intel Corp , Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Xilinx Inc were all down between 2.5% and 4%. That followed similar falls for European peers including ASML , STMicroelectronics , Infineon , and AMS . “We’ll see a very sharp impact simply because (there are) no purchases allowed and there’s no obvious substitution in place,” Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan told a conference call with analysts in relation to the Huawei ban. Broadcom, which got $900 million in revenue from Huawei last year, also said, however, that the forecast cut “extends beyond one particular customer.” “We’re talking about uncertainty in our marketplace, uncertainty because of the - of demand in the form of order reduction as the supply chain out there constricts - compress, so to speak,” Tan added. The semiconductor industry has been grappling with slowing demand since the second half of 2018 with bellwether Texas Instruments warning in April that a cyclical downturn could last for another two years. That has related chiefly to signs that mobile phone markets in some major economies are increasingly saturated while mass demand in new areas like self-driving cars and internet of things devices for homes and offices is still developing. The geopolitical risks from the trade conflict and Huawei ban are an additional shock. “It’s not just Huawei, it’s deeper than that. Visibility is shot. OEMs [carmakers] aren’t ordering. Inventory concerns, which were supposed to ease, have not gone away,” said one European trader. “Goodbye H2 recovery hopes!” Broadcom, known for communications chips that power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity in smartphones, is also a major supplier to Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and shares of the iPhone maker were down nearly 1% premarket. The CEO of chipmaker Micron Technology also said the ban on Huawei brings uncertainty and disturbance to the semiconductor industry. “It’s a broad-based decline they are now predicting,” said Neil Campling, tech analyst at London-based asset manager Mirabaud. “This is unlikely to be Broadcom specific but a trend to expect in H2 this year. A rebound for the chip sector, which many hope for, is highly unlikely.” Source
  6. Broadcom "disappointed with the outcome" after Trump barred Broadcom's proposed takeover of Qualcomm on national security grounds Broadcom has formally abandoned its pursuit of rival Qualcomm following an order signed by US President Donald Trump earlier this week barring it from buying the US semiconductor company. The company explained that it has scrapped talks with Qualcomm and will not seek to use forthcoming board elections to try and fill Qualcomm's board with its own nominees - a move it had been planning in a bid to persuade stockholders to go over the head of the Qualcomm board. Broadcom said it was "disappointed with the outcome", but had no choice to drop plans when President Trump intervened this week. Trump said that the government had come across "credible evidence" that a merger between the two companies "threatens to impair the national security of the US". That followed a report by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) warning that key technology could fall into the wrong hands if the deal were to go through. However, Broadcom hit back, saying it "strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns". In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin supported the decision. He said: "This decision is based on the facts and national security sensitivities related to this particular transaction only." He added that the government is not trying to "make any other statement about Broadcom or its employees, including its thousands of hard working and highly skilled US employees". Broadcom, though, had struggled to make the case for its proposed deal, with Qualcomm claiming that its bid drastically undervalued the company and, especially, the potential of its 5G mobile communications technology. As part of its attempts to persuade Qualcomm stockholders, and US government and regulators Broadcom promised to shift its headquarters to the US. This, though, failed to convince CFIUS. The firm added that it will "continue to move forward with its redomiciliation process" and will "comply" with the US government's decision. More Info On This At Reuters Source
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