1. MICROSOFT – More than 20,000 U.S. organizations have been compromised through a back door installed via recently patched flaws in Microsoft Corp’s email software, a person familiar with the U.S. government’s response said on Friday.
The hacking has already reached more places than all of the tainted code downloaded from SolarWinds Corp, the company at the heart of another massive hacking spree uncovered in December.
The latest hack has left channels for remote access spread among credit unions, town governments and small businesses, according to records from the U.S. investigation.
Tens of thousands of organizations in Asia and Europe are also affected, the records show.
The hacks are continuing despite emergency patches issued by Microsoft on Tuesday.
Microsoft, which had initially said the hacks consisted of “limited and targeted attacks,” declined to comment on the scale of the problem on Friday but said it was working with government agencies and security companies to provide help to customers.
It added, “impacted customers should contact our support teams for additional help and resources.”
One scan of connected devices showed only 10% of those vulnerable had installed the patches by Friday, though the number was rising.
Because installing the patch does not get rid of the back doors, U.S. officials are racing to figure out how to notify all the victims and guide them in their hunt.
All of those affected appear to run Web versions of email client Outlook and host them on their own machines, instead of relying on cloud providers. That may have spared many of the biggest companies and federal government agencies, the records suggest.
2. TWITTER-“just setting up my twttr” – the first ever tweet on the platform is up for sale after Twitter boss Jack Dorsey listed his famous post as a unique digital signature on a website for selling tweets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The post, sent from Dorsey’s account in March of 2006, received offers on Friday that went as high as $88,888.88 within minutes of the Twitter co-founder tweeting a link to the listing on ‘Valuables by Cent’ – a tweets marketplace.
Old offers for the tweet suggest that it was put for sale in December, but the listing gained more attention after Dorsey’s tweet on Friday.
NFTs are digital files that serve as digital signatures to certify who owns photos, videos and other online media.
Dorsey’s 15-year old tweet is one of the most famous tweets ever on the platform and could attract bidders to pay a high price for the digital memorabilia. The highest bid for the tweet stood at $ $2 million at 04:47 GMT on Saturday.
3. AMAZON :– A group of U.S. lawmakers visited an Amazon facility in Alabama on Friday to lend support to a growing push to unionize its workers, in what labor leaders and lawmakers called one of the most important union elections in United States history.
Workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, are voting on whether to become the first employees in the U.S. to join a union at one of the country’s largest employers.
The visit comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s recent statement defending workers’ rights to form unions. While he did not mention Amazon, he referenced “workers in Alabama.”
The move by the Alabama workers, which is being backed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), is a critical one for the U.S. labor movement that has struggled with declining membership in recent years. It is also a watershed moment for a growing unionizing drive within the tech industry that has long been hostile to organized labor.
The congressional delegation includes U.S. Representatives Andy Levin, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Terri Sewell, and Nikema Williams
“This is the most important election for the working class of this country in the 21st century,” Rep. Levin said, addressing workers in Bessemer. “This is the biggest election in the south in a generation.”
Rep. Sewell, whose district includes Bessemer, likened the fight to the civil rights struggles in the area’s past.
“I know that Amazon workers stand in the same tradition as John Lewis…as those foot soldiers that dare to change the world by having the audacity to stand up for their rights.”
4. AT&T: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday sued AT&T Inc and three executives for allegedly disclosing nonpublic information to research analysts to avoid falling short of quarterly expectations in 2016.
AT&T allegedly learned in March 2016 that a steeper-than-expected decline in first quarter smartphone sales would leave the company falling short of analysts’ estimates, so the phone company’s chief financial officer directed investor relations employees to “work the analysts” to get them to lower their estimates, the SEC said in a court filing.
The SEC said investor relations executives Christopher Womack, Michael Black, and Kent Evans made private, one-on-one phone calls to analysts at approximately 20 firms, disclosing material nonpublic information in violation of securities laws.
AT&T denied the allegations in a lengthy statement published online, noting: “Not only did AT&T publicly disclose this trend on multiple occasions before the analyst calls in question, but AT&T also made clear that the declining phone sales had no material impact on its earnings.”
5. Goldman Sachs- Traders at Goldman Sachs Group Inc could earn roughly $100 million in profit from the winter storm last month that left many across Texas and other southern U.S. states without electricity, clean water, and heat, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
The Wall Street bank’s earnings from the physical sale of power and natural gas and financial hedges after spot prices jumped, could top $200 million on paper, but they will likely take a significant write down, Bloomberg reported.
Texas’s energy market saw extreme volatility in mid-February when a deep freeze reduced supplies, sending the cost of emergency fuel and power sky high. With bills now coming due, many energy companies are expected to file for bankruptcy or seek regulatory or legal remedies to put off payment.
“The polar vortex drove volatility in energy markets, and, as a market-maker and liquidity provider, we were positioned to help our clients manage their risks in that challenging environment,” said a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman in an emailed statement.