Monday tech roundupLast week’s news was dominated by Twitter and how one of the original founders and newly appointed CEO Jack Dorsey immediately started laying off people in a recent restructuring exercise aimed at making the social media company leaner. Many of those who were made redundant received their news when they tried logging into their accounts and find them locked. Many took to Twitter to express their thoughts and the #TwitterLayoffs hashtag was born. In a weird twist of the fate, the hashtag has since evolved and is now being used by other companies offering jobs to those who were laid off.

Also last week, allegations surfaced of the Wall Street Journal being cracked, Windows 10 started offering some good deals, and Microsoft came up with a (cringe-worthy) attempt to get us to upgrade our PCs. Read more in our Monday tech roundup.

Russian hackers crack Dow Jones network

There exists a breed of hackers who like nothing more than making money from misdeeds, and many of these kind of attacks tend to originate from Eastern Europe and Russia. Now it appears Russian hackers cracked the Dow Jones & Co. network, a company that houses the Wall Street Journal amongst other financial properties. Talk about insider information. A trader would kill to know what the Wall Street Journal was about to publish! The investigation of this incident began a year ago, but so far there are no public details as to whether money was made through insider trading.

Lots of scary stuff to ponder here. First, this could really disrupt the worldwide trading systems. Even worse, the incursion shows what’s possible and this establishes a dangerous precedent. Hackers are getting more effective most of the time.

The real danger might be a combination attack – one where there is inside information, and perhaps a simultaneous attack on the trading systems themselves. There are all kinds of combo scenarios that might unfortunately come to fruition.

The story is still a bit murky, as it was reported by a Wall Street Journal competitor. In fact, the Journal doesn’t even confirm the incident of the investigation, saying “To the best of our knowledge, we have received no information from the authorities about any such alleged matter, and we are looking into whether there is any truth whatsoever to this report by a competitor news organization.”

Whether the story turns out to be true or not, this is not the first time we heard of hackers breaking into systems, stealing insider information and making a profit from insider trading. In August, a group of US-based stock traders using hackers in the Ukraine made more than 100 million in profit.

Windows 10 wheeling and dealing

Microsoft is so interested in moving Windows 10 that it made it a free upgrade for most Windows users. Now Microsoft is offering up to (USD) $300 trade-in value for old machines when you buy a new Windows 10 machine from Microsoft.

This serves two purposes – it moves Windows 10 and it moves hardware built by Microsoft. That’s because the deepest discounts are for Microsoft machines, with lesser discounts coming in from third parties.

So is this a good deal for customers? Yes and no. You have to trade in a relatively modern machine which is in good working condition in order to get the discount. So what is that machine worth? If you are trading in a used PC, it is likely worth very little and if you have a fairly recent MacBook, it is probably worth more than $300 and chances are you wouldn’t be switching to Windows anyway., Ironically, Microsoft values used Macs more, as it is only giving (USD) $200 for a used Windows box, when the $300 cash-back is the top figure. Most will get far less, especially depending on where you live.

The folks looking at the best deals live in the United States and in Europe, you get less money back and your machine has to meet higher standards.

Microsoft and partners push users to buy new machines

This new Microsoft push doesn’t stop there and apart from Microsoft offering hard cold cash if you relinquish your old machine and buy a new one running Windows 10 it also released a new ad campaign. A campaign which rightly so has been dubbed cringe-worthy by Mark Walton at Arstechinca.

Working with OEM partners on a campaign called “PC Does What?” Microsoft is trying to convince us all that our existing machines are lame and must be replaced.

Five companies which include Dell, Intel, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft have created a (USD) $70 million fund to buy ads promoting what new machines can do that our old ones can’t.

The ads will run primarily in the US and China – the two biggest markets – but if you are outside of those territories and want to experience “the cringe” you can have a look at short snippets on YouTube.