There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.

Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more

Every good corporate executive knows that carelessly worded internal emails can turn into damning evidence in future trials. In its high-stakes legal fight with Oracle, though, Google has just discovered that an email that was never actually sent – let alone even completed – may turn out to be just as dangerous. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • James Gosling, the programmer who founded Java at Sun Microsystems, has joined Google, Cnet reports. The online search giant is currently suing Oracle, which bought Sun Microsystems last year, over how the Java technology is used in Android.

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A phishing attack aimed at small businesses accounted for as much as a third of all global junk email–or more than a quarter of all e-mail–for a 15-minute period Friday, showing that the Zeus family of keystroke-logging software remains a force to be reckoned with despite a recent spate of arrests.

The attack took the form of e-mails that had subject headings beginning “Your Federal Tax Payment” and said an electronic transfer had been rejected because of an invalid corporate identification number. Following a recent trend in such scams, the e-mails contain links to a genuine web page, in this case a US site that collects tax payment information including bank account numbers. Read more

The US may have cleared Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, but there’s still a view among some people who have been close to this transaction that it won’t be the easy sell in Europe that Wall Street seems to assume.

According to this view, Oracle won’t get the same free pass to acquire Java that it got from the Department of Justice, but will be forced to accept some sort of undertaking to ensure that licensing of Java does not become overly restrictive. Given the central part Java has played in building a counter-weight to Microsoft in the software industry, it isn’t hard to see why European regulators might be interested. There have been rumblings that SAP has been lobbying hard with Brussels on this issue.

If so, then someone forgot to tell Hasso Plattner. The chairman of SAP’s supervisory board, and a co-founder of the company, Plattner was in Silicon Valley late this week, and I got the chance to ask him how he feels about Java passing to Oracle. Read more

At the official passing of the Java torch today, Larry Ellison couldn’t resist dangling the suggestion that Oracle is getting ready to launch some sort of new client software platform to rival Google’s Android and – an unspoken challenge – Microsoft.

The Oracle boss was on stage with Scott McNealy at the annual JavaOne event in San Francisco, in what looked like a symbolic ceding of Sun’s leadership of Java after nearly two decades. Read more

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall next time Oracle gets round to negotiating Java licences with IBM and Nokia?

Sun’s aim of countering Microsoft by getting the programming language and development tools widely adopted was a knock-out success, but its business model (make the profits on hardware) failed utterly. Oracle has been pretty clear that it won’t make that mistake.

But will Java licensees be willing to pay up to justify Larry Ellison’s claim that this is “the single most important software asset we have ever acquired”? Read more