Inside the Cunning, Unprecedented Hack of Ukraine’s Power Grid

Wired offers an in-depth look at how hackers crippled Ukraine’s power grid last year. Very interesting that they deployed TDoS attacks to flood the power company’s call centers so nobody could call in to report anything:

[…] they launched a telephone denial-of-service attack against customer call centers to prevent customers from calling in to report the outage. TDoS attacks are similar to DDoS attacks that send a flood of data to web servers. In this case, the center’s phone systems were flooded with thousands of bogus calls that appeared to come from Moscow, in order to prevent legitimate callers from getting through.

Most enterprises probably haven’t even thought about defending against TDoS attacks, but it’s definitely a threat these days with cheap VoIP and number spoofing. Not to mention cybercriminal call centers.


Aspect Software files Chapter 11

Don’t worry, it’s business as usual. The company needed to reduce debt, secure new financing, and borrow more money to grow.

According to Aspect’s press release and another report, $320 million of debt is to be eliminated. With revenue of $400 million, that’s a lot of debt to be carrying around. Looks like the balance sheet finally buckled under pressure.

Aspect is by far the most Microsoft-centric contact center software company, stemming from an investment by the software giant around 2008. The companies have close ties, and Aspect’s products integrate well with Microsoft’s.

It was pretty exciting to hear Aspect buyout Voxeo in 2013, but now it appears that the company has difficulties pivoting to cloud-based solutions to catch up with competitors. The money spent on acquiring Voxeo was 50% of the debt, in retrospect a gamble that may not have played out too well. Jonathan Taylor, a cofounder of Voxeo, chimed in via LinkedIn on his thoughts of how Aspect got itself in trouble.

Let’s hope the company will get over this bump on the road and emerge even stronger financially.