Money Woes Redux, More Malware, Shopping Jam

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We're just about out of another woeful week as far as economic news goes, what with AT&T and Adobe Systems joining the ever-growing list of companies slashing jobs and Research In Motion and Advanced Micro Devices giving notice that quarterly revenue either will not reach forecasts or will drop. New malware targeting Firefox users was in the news, too. One positive note was that early online holiday-season shopping was robust. But there was a negative side to that as well -- the influx of e-shoppers caught some major online stores off guard and their systems couldn't handle the traffic.

1. AT&T to cut 12,000 employees through 2009 and Wall Street Beat: Hardware taking brunt of recession: Let's get the baddest of the bad news out of the way first -- AT&T will axe 12,000 employees from its payroll through next year as it reorganizes. Word of the layoffs came the same day that Adobe Systems said it is cutting 600 jobs and Advanced Micro Devices warned that its third-quarter revenue is likely to drop 25 percent compared to a year ago. The day after, Research In Motion said preliminary quarterly financial results are not going to reach the levels it previously forecast. If you want the rest of the grim news, click on the story links. Undoubtedly, next week will bring more dismal doings from recession land.

2. Firefox users targeted by rare piece of malware: BitDefender researchers have discovered new malware that identifies financial and money-transfer sites, including PayPal, and then collects passwords to those sites, but is aimed only at Firefox users.

3. Major e-stores malfunction on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday crowds overwhelm some large e-tailers and Shoppers opened their wallets on Cyber Monday: If you were among the hoards of shoppers trying to transact some e-commerce on "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday," the day after and the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, you might already have known before the news reports were out that online crowds slammed some of the largest e-tailers, causing them to jam, get stuck loading or crash entirely. Seeming to defy paltry expectations, online shoppers spent 15 percent more on Cyber Monday this year than last, with the spending spree starting on Thanksgiving with a 6 percent increase that day over a year ago, and 19 percent more over the weekend, according to comScore. The US$846 million spent online on Cyber Monday is the second-biggest for e-tail spending on record. Even so, analysts expect that overall holiday spending in November and December will be flat compared to last year.

4. Google Earth used by terrorists in India attacks: Terrorists who attacked multiple locations in Mumbai learned their way around the city by using Google Earth maps, officials investigating the attacks in India said. The terrorists also used satellite phones and GPS (Global Positioning Systems), police said (although we realize it may well be more newsworthy at this juncture if a terrorist organization weren't making use of various technologies). India's former president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, is among those who have criticized Google Earth because it can be used for nefarious purposes.

5. US report sees major terror attack by 2013, ignores cyberattck risk: A major terrorist attack involving biological or nuclear weapons is likely somewhere in the world by 2013, although the greater probability is that it will be a biological event, according to "The World at Risk," a report from a commission mandated by Congress. The 132-page report did not much address cyberattacks or network security, although it did note that the Internet provides an easy place to find out how to build a nuclear bomb. But reading between the lines, there are technology issues inherent in the report's conclusions.

6. Apple quietly recommends using antivirus software and Apple removes antivirus support page: Apple removed a page on its Web site that recommended antivirus software be bought by Mac users -- a suggestion that ran counter to the company's popular advertising campaign that pokes fun at Windows PCs for, among other reasons, being security risks. The page, which was first spotted by The Washington Post and then widely reported for a couple of days, was taken down "because it was old and inaccurate," an Apple spokesman said. "The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threads right out of the box."

7. Five must-do cybersecurity steps for Obama: President-elect Barack Obama has a sizeable to-do list, what with the economy in the toilet, war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the reputation of the U.S. needing to be restored. But Obama should not overlook needed work on cybersecurity and related issues, which also remain important, according to security experts who weighed in to assist CSOonline in preparing a list of "must-do" steps in those regards.

8. Internet needs multilingual support for next billion people: Some speakers at the Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India, contended that the Internet must be able to support languages of the world in content and relative to hardware, software and domain names if it's going to expand to another billion people. Others have doubts that there is that much demand for accessing the Internet in local languages. No doubt the debate will continue.

9. Virtual server sprawl kills cost savings, experts warn: So, you think you're going to save your IT shop a bundle of dough by adopting server virtualization, eh? Maybe you need to think again -- Jett Thompson, a Boeing computing infrastructure architect, said virtual server sprawl can make those savings disappear.

10. Google called off Yahoo deal as DOJ moved in: A mere three hours before the U.S. Department of Justice was going to file an antitrust complaint to block Google's proposed search advertising deal with Yahoo, Google bailed out, according to Sanford Litvack, the attorney retained by the government to handle the case. Litvak talked about the unraveling of the deal in an interview with the AMLaw Daily blog.

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