Excel Never Dies: The Spreadsheet That Launched A Million Companies

Link: https://www.notboring.co/p/excel-never-dies

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Excerpt:

Excel may be the most influential software ever built. It is a canonical example of Steve Job’s bicycle of the mind, endowing its users with computational superpowers normally reserved for professional software engineers. Armed with those superpowers, users can create fully functional software programs in the form of a humble spreadsheet to solve problems in a seemingly limitless number of domains. These programs often serve as high-fidelity prototypes of domain specific applications just begging to be brought to market in a more polished form. 

If you want to see the future of B2B software, look at what Excel users are hacking together in spreadsheets today. Excel’s success has inspired the creation of software whose combined enterprise value dwarfs that of Excel alone.

Author(s): Packy McCormick

Publication Date: 8 March 2021

Publication Site: Not Boring

How China’s attack on Microsoft escalated into a “reckless” hacking spree

Link: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/03/10/1020596/how-chinas-attack-on-microsoft-escalated-into-a-reckless-hacking-spree

Excerpt:

At first the Chinese hackers ran a careful campaign. For two months, they exploited weaknesses in Microsoft Exchange email servers, picked their targets carefully, and stealthily stole entire mailboxes. When investigators eventually caught on, it looked like typical online espionage—but then things accelerated dramatically.

Around February 26, the narrow operation turned into something much bigger and much more chaotic. Just days later, Microsoft publicly disclosed the hacks—the hackers are now known as Hafnium—and issued a security fix. But by then attackers were looking for targets across the entire internet: in addition to tens of thousands of reported victims in the US, governments around the world are announcing that they were compromised too. Now at least 10 hacking groups, most of them government-backed cyber-espionage teams, are exploiting the vulnerabilities on thousands of servers in over 115 countries, according to the security firm ESET.

Author(s): Patrick Howell O’Neill

Publication Date: 10 March 2021

Publication Site: MIT Technology Review

Former SolarWinds CEO blames intern for ‘solarwinds123’ password leak

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/26/politics/solarwinds123-password-intern/index.html

Excerpt:

Current and former top executives at SolarWinds are blaming a company intern for a critical lapse in password security that apparently went undiagnosed for years.

The password in question, “solarwinds123,” was discovered in 2019 on the public internet by an independent security researcher who warned the company that the leak had exposed a SolarWinds file server.

Several US lawmakers ripped into SolarWinds for the password issue Friday, in a joint hearing by the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

“I’ve got a stronger password than ‘solarwinds123’ to stop my kids from watching too much YouTube on their iPad,” said Rep. Katie Porter. “You and your company were supposed to be preventing the Russians from reading Defense Department emails!”

Author(s): Brian Fung and Geneva Sands

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: CNN