Tech wrap: Cisco ripe for activist assault?

April 5, 2011

John Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cisco, participates in a panel discussion titled ''Enhancing Access to Modern Technology,'' at the Clinton Global Initiative, in New York, September 23, 2010. Reuters/Chip EastIn a remarkably candid memo to employees, Cisco chief John Chambers admitted that the networking giant had been slow to make decisions, fallen down on execution, lacked discipline in an aggressive expansion and will need to change to restore its credibility. He warned staff to prepare for a number of unspecified changes in the next few weeks and coming fiscal year, starting in August.

Cisco’s poor performance, valuable assets, cash pile and years of capital misallocation provide the kindling to spark long-suffering shareholders into an uprising, writes Rob Cox.

Tens of millions of customers and employees of banks Citigroup and Capital One, retailers Walgreens, Best Buy and Target, and hotel chains Hilton and Marriott are at risk of “spear-phishing” attacks if they respond to camouflaged emails seeking their credit card numbers or other information, after hackers stole their email addresses in what may become one of the biggest data breaches ever, security experts warned. Using emails that appear to come from a trustworthy source to steal data — is sometimes known “spear-phishing” because such emails are more focused than traditional “phishing” emails.

President Obama will visit Facebook’s headquarters on April 20 and hold a town hall forum on the economy, the White House said. The move comes as Facebook has been deepening its ties in Washington, writes the WSJ’s Geoffrey Fowler. Under pressure over privacy issues, Facebook has been building up its policy team, Fowler adds. Last summer, Facebook hired former White House National Economic Council chief of staff Marne Levine as a new vice president of global public policy.

The mobile app Fring is expanding its video calling feature to include free group calls for the iPhone and Android platforms, writes Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove. The feature isn’t ready yet but will be tested on a limited group of users.

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